Exactly a week ago today I arrived in Jamaica, first time since a few childhood visits. I'm here on this six week trip to Kingston because I was awarded an artist residency at NLS (New Local Space Limited/ nuclear localisation signal/ natty's loquacious stylings/ nerds love serpents/ nobodies loving something/...). NLS is an artist-run contemporary art initiative in Kingston, a non-profit subsidiary of the audio recording studio and production house Creative Sounds Ltd. I was accepted to create a project that explores migration as a personal and familiar experience for Caribbean families. Though a multimedia installation using audio, photography and found objects I explore, through my Grandfather's earliest memories, the emotional impacts separation can have. This opportunity provides me with studio space, structure, technical and administrative assistance, as well as funding and amazing supportive vibrations to complete this piece.
I'm staying at the incredible donation based yoga/community space TrueSelf Centre of Being. My spirit is nurtured here whether I'm practicing yoga or teaching it, connecting with the community members who pass thru or simply relaxing in my room. In other words, it is a perfect fit. In fact, this whole experience feels like a perfect fit so far. It wouldn't happened without the support you who pledged to the kickstarter campaign, the last phase of NLS' fundraising efforts for this residency! Thank you again! Your support also made it possible for me to be here in person for the opening of the Jamaica Biennial 2014 on 14th December 2014. This is my first time being selected for a biennial, so being here to see my two short films on exhibit is priceless.
The studio on Mountain View Rd. is all mine for the duration of my stay. It is comprises of two rooms, which open up beautifully to the back yard. It is so incredible to have such an amazing space to work in. I don't have a studio space in Grenada so this is really priceless. For over a year I've been struck by the refreshing new ways that NLS engages the creative community in Jamaica and internationally. Founder & Executive Director Deborah Carroll Anzinger and her team seek to ‘support visual artists whose practice is based in relentless experimentation, and to connect such artists to the global contemporary art community’. On the Groundation Grenada team we always have our eye out for inspiring regional initiatives who share our commitment to art-based community development. In the past 14 months we have hosted 5 artist residents in Grenada from Trinidad/New York/Guyana/Aruba/The Netherlands. This is my first residency since we started hosting visiting artists at Groundation (and my second ever). As both an arts administrator and an artist I can tell you that there are immeasurable benefits that manifest for all stakeholders during artist residencies. Artists, the organizations who host them and the broader community are brought together for a moment - a sweet collision - that leaves everyone recharged and more open to new perspectives.
If you want to know more about and the project that I am creating here in Jamaica listen to NLS In Conversation with Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe. NLS has hosted engaging conversations for their live online series IN, featuring amazing creatives like Nadia Huggins, Shantrelle P. Lewis, and Mark King. The archive of these conversations is such an important document of people within the Caribbean creative communities.