Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago at Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, through January 13, 2018

“Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago is the first major survey of this size and scope of 21st century art. It features more than 67 contemporary artists with roots in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Aruba, Saint Maarten, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Trinidad, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Vincent. Departing from the premise that the concept of Latin America favors mainland countries, the exhibition proposes a mapping of the region that begins with the islands. Arising from a legacy of colonialism, recurrent themes include race and ethnicity, history, identity, sovereignty, migration and sustainability.

The works in this exhibition speak for the Caribbean’s indigenous peoples whose homes were fractured and divided by colonialism. These are spaces that were mercilessly exploited for labor and goods by distant European monarchies. This area also marks the site of one of the West’s first rebellions (the Haitian slave revolt which led to the independence of the island in 1804) and the Cuban War of Independence in 1898, a byproduct of the Spanish-American War.

The Caribbean is inhabited by many different indigenous cultures whose languages include Spanish, Dutch, English, French and Creole. Although the Caribbean has been fragmented by centuries of tyranny and domination, the contemporary artists in this exhibition draw upon themes of connection that often envision what lies beyond imposed borderlines.” — Frost Art Museum

Jeannette Ehlers. Black Bullets, 2012. Video, 5:05 minutes. Courtesy of the artist

Didier William. Dancing Pouring, Crackling and Mourning, 2015. Mixed media on wood, 60 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the Robert and Frances Coulborn Kohler Collection

Edouard Duval-Carrie. Lost at Sea, 2014. Mixed media on aluminum, 96 x 144 inches. Courtesy of the artist

Ewan Atkinson. Empire from the series Starman Visits, 2009. Photograph mounted on light box, 13 x 17 x 3 inches. Courtesy of the artist

Camille Chedda. Wholesale Degradables, 2014-2015. Acrylic paint on plastic bags. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist

amille Chedda. Wholesale Degradables (detail), 2014-2015. Acrylic paint on plastic bags. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist

Kishan Munroe. The Sinking of HMBS Flamingo, 2014. Oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 96 x 2 ½ inches. Collection of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force

Miguel Luciano. Amani Kites, SmART Power, Kenya, 2012. Photographic documentation of social practice project on paper, 20 2/3 x 27 ½ inches. Courtesy of the artist

Miguel Luciano. Amani Kites, SmART Power, Kenya, 2012. Photographic documentation of social practice project on paper, 20 2/3 x 27 ½ inches. Courtesy of the artist

“Because of Miami’s geographic proximity to the Caribbean nations, as well as our cultural mosaic which Caribbean cultures have shaped, it was important for us to bring this exhibition to Miami during Art Basel season,” said Dr. Jordana Pomeroy, the Director of the museum. “Our new season opens up a dialogue about global commonalities rather than differences, from ecological changes to societal values around the world.” 

Relational Undercurrents is curated by Tatiana Flores, Associate Professor of Art History and Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, this exhibition was organized by the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time LA/LA.

Images courtesy Frost Art Museum.