The lands that touch the Caribbean Sea have become inextricably intertwined, over the centuries, with the rest of the globe, including parts of Africa, India, China, Japan, Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. The Caribbean’s ecologies, economies, and cultures have been fundamentally shaped by these relationships, which have involved shifting empires and colonization, travels across bodies of water both voluntary and forced, and the bodies of water themselves.
Breathe into the Past: Crosscurrents in the Caribbean takes its title from a line in Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s 2020 book Dub: Finding Ceremony, which is about channeling ancestral knowledge toward understanding Caribbean histories and navigating Caribbean futures. The twelve featured artists in this exhibition hail from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, coastal Colombia, and beyond. Their artworks offer insights into the complex histories that have influenced the present—sometimes on grand scales, at other times in subtler yet still undeniable ways. They acknowledge human and nonhuman entanglements, situate contemporary politics in spaces of coloniality and imperialism, and celebrate long histories of resistance and perseverance. They integrate a broad range of materials—vintage saris, codfish skins, bougainvillea thorns, sugar—into sculptures, books, photographs, films, and more, so as to speak to histories of migration and diaspora (the scattering of peoples from their homelands). In this way, the works and the artists who made them offer poetic responses to often-marginalized histories.
Artists included in the exhibition:
Firelei Báez, Albert Chong, Andrea Chung, Maksaens Denis, Hulda Guzmán, Renluka Maharaj, Suchitra Mattai, Carlos Martiel, Javier Orfón, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, María Isabel Rueda, and Nyugen Smith
Breathe into the Past: Crosscurrents in the Caribbean is organized by Dr. Naomi Wood, NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities, and Chair and Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Colorado College, and Katja Rivera, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, with Savanah Pennell, Curatorial Paraprofessional at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. The exhibition is generously supported by The Anschutz Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, and the Margaret Lane Endowment for Contemporary Art
Header (detail) & right image: Hulda Guzmán, Uva de Playa 2 , 2020, acrylic gouache on linen in artist’s frame; 35 x 35 in. (88.9 x 88.9 cm.) Private Collection Photo: Dario Lasagni. Copyright the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Alexander Berggruen, NY, and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
Left image: Suchitra Mattai, Tethered, 2020, vintage saris, wire, and found object, dimensions variable, courtesy of K Contemporary, Denver, photo by Wes Magyar
We ask for your precaution when visiting this exhibition. Many of the works are fragile and some contain explicit material, including references to violence, sounds of gunfire, nudity, and images of self-harm. Please be mindful of your needs when entering the space. A printed list of mental health and other related resources will be available.