Caribbean In/Securities: Creativity and Negotiation in the Caribbean (CARISCC)


CARISCC Blog Posts

Call for Papers: International Dance Conference, UWI Cave Hill, Barbados

The central theme for the 3rd Biennial International Dance Conference is “Decolonizing Bodies: Engaging Performance.” This conference will take place on May 23-26, 2018, at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination of the University of the West Indies-Cave Hill, Barbados. The deadline for abstract submissions is February 15, 2018. Description/Guidelines: The University of the […]

via Call for Papers—“Decolonizing Bodies: Engaging Performance” — Repeating Islands


Engaging Abstraction and Portraiture at the National Gallery of Jamaica — Museum Geographies

During the CARISCC Research Network’s trip to Jamaica I was pleased to visit the National Gallery, located on Ocean Boulevard in downtown Kingston close to the city’s scenic Waterfront. Although the National Gallery was first established by a special committee of the Jamaican government in the early 1970s, with an embryonic collection of 230 works placed on public display at Devon House in 1974 […]

via Engaging Abstraction and Portraiture at the National Gallery of Jamaica — Museum Geographies

“In-secure Neighbourhoods: Negotiating Social Equity and Agency” – written by guest blogger Dr Jasneth Mullings (University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica)

Using excerpts from the book ‘Going Crazy in the City: Neighbourhood Context and Mental Health’, this blog reflects on depreciated community environments which have increased the social and economic in-securities for Jamaicans. It considers the relevance of agency to community development, recognizing the need to bridge the inequities in agency to facilitate more creative responses for sustainable development.  The book uses vignettes to provide insights into the lived experiences of Jamaicans of diverse socioeconomic and political backgrounds, living in ‘Bottom River’ [an informal/squatter settlement], ‘Middle Ground’ [a middle-income community], ‘Hill Drive’ [an affluent community] and ‘Country Road’ [a rural community].

 “…The residents of Bottom River were a proactive and resourceful set. With no legal access to electricity and in dire need of this modern convenience, the young at heart wasted no time in constructing what seemed like a practical plan to acquire this urgently needed resource. They obtained reams of left over wire from a construction site and attached them to the light pole which ran closest to their community. The wires spun out in a pattern much like the network of arteries and veins in the human body. In some spaces it resembled a colourful and intricately designed spider web. Bottom River had a special communication system, like a morse code to alert members when the authorities or strange faces were seen on the fringes of the settlement…” (pg 59).

Figure 12. Life in Bottom River (pg. 60) – Illustrated by Clovis Brown. Image courtesy of the artist. Copyright: Clovis Brown.

Community Action and Agency

With depreciating physical environments occurring across the landscape from Bottom River to Middle Ground, all the way to Hill Drive, an important question to ask is ‘Have residents taken the necessary action to improve  their environments and if not, why not?’ How much is this wrapped up in access to resources, power or status? One answer may lie in the concept of agency. Agency is an expression of individual power to take action on a matter of importance in a given set of circumstances. Hill Drive residents made efforts to garner resources to repair roads, etc. through their access to the corridors of political power. Beverly and Tina recognized their inability to change their environment in Bottom River. Hence their move to Hill Drive, spurred by the need to reside in an environment perceived as safe and one in which Jahmal would more likely be exposed to positive influences which could have a lifelong impact. But what of Bottom River and the residents who had to remain there? What would their outcomes be over their life course? Persons like Carlyle, Ms. Esmie, Joan and Mama are forced to accept their conditions and make decisions (e.g. purchasing a new car) which may not be in their best interest long-term. Their lack of control over their environment and inability to change their living circumstances could undoubtedly have a long-term negative impact on them and their families.

Some critical questions for consideration are:

  • How can residents of all communities be afforded agency?
  • What are the forces that will propel them to demand and/or institute the changes they deem necessary to preserve their health and well-being?
  • What support is needed to realize this potential and where are the sources of such support available?” (pg 122)

A sense of local agency is integral to the functioning of a community. The empowerment of citizens through training and other social development programmes brings life to a community and gives a voice to its people. State/citizen and non-state partnerships are needed to address challenges of urban blight and the accompanying social decay. Such multi-sectoral collaboration can best offer creative prospects for a more integrated, de-politicized and sustainable approach to community development.

Written by Dr Jasneth Mullings
Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica

17 January 2018


Excerpts from the book ‘Going Crazy in the City: Neighbourhood Context and Mental Health (2017).
Authors: Jasneth Mullings with Rainford Wilks, The University of the West Indies, Mona
Arawak Publications Arawak publications |Publisher & Publishing Consultants.

Jasneth Mullings is currently assigned to the Health Research Resource Unit, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI Mona as an Epidemiologist/Research Scientist, where she is supporting the Faculty s research programme. Her research spans community health and health systems research and interventions. Rainford Wilks, is founding Professor of Epidemiology and founding former Director of the Epidemiology Research Unit (ERU), TMRI, UWI. His clinical, research and teaching interests are in the chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), primarily in cardiovascular diseases, and their risk factors.

For further information about this publication, please contact the authors via email c/o:;


CARISCC Research Network and Interdisciplinary Conferences, UWI Mona, Jamaica, January 2018

M.E. (2016) from the Trench Town series, by photographer and video artist Charlotte C Mortensson. © Charlotte C Mortensson –

The Caribbean In/Securities and Creativity Research Network (CARISCC) will host two interdisciplinary conferences as part of a programme of public events and international dialogues taking place in January 2018 at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

The Network’s 3rd CARISCC Postgraduate Research Conference will take place at Mona Conference Centre on Monday 15 January 2018, 9am-5pm. This event will open with the keynote address “Moving Caribbeans: Migration, Tourism and In/Secure Mobilities,” presented by our esteemed colleague Dr Susan Mains (Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Dundee; and CARISCC Network Member). This will be followed by a guest presentation by Orville Hall, artistic director for the internationally renowned Jamaican performing arts company Theatre Xpressionz.

The conference programme will also include three themed panel sessions, featuring contributions from Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral researchers. Full details of the conference programme are available online here.

The CARISCC Established Scholars’ Workshop will take place at Mona Conference Centre on Tuesday 16 January 2018, 9am-5pm.

This event was specifically scheduled to enable Network members (based at universities in the UK, Netherlands, USA and Canada) to meet with established scholars from the Caribbean region to discuss and explore reconceptualisations of security and insecurity (in/security) through creativity.

Some of the research papers presented by our invited guest speakers include the following:

  • “Economic Insecurity and the Black Dandy: Afropolitican Aesthetics as Epistemology,” presented by Dr Michael A. Bucknor – Senior Lecturer and Head, Department of Literatures in English, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica
  • “The Lydia Byam Experience: An Interface of Art and Science,” presented by Dr Aleric J. Josephs – Lecturer in History, Department of History and Archaeology, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica
  • “Securing Caribbean Futures through A Sexual Culture of Justice – Transformation through Creativity, Healing, and Cultural Practices,” presented by Dr Angelique V. Nixon – Lecturer & IGDS Graduate Studies Coordinator, Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS SAU), University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago
  • “Popular Pedagogies and Precarity: Lessons from a Decade of Consciousness-raising in the Caribbean,” presented by Dr Gabrielle Hosein – Lecturer and Head, Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago
  • “‘The Community was One Hundred Percent Safe’:  Resisting and Coping with in(security),” presented by Dr Yonique Campbell – Lecturer in Public Policy and Management, Department of Government, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica
  • “Child Participation and Expression through Research,” presented by Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee – Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica

As a prelude to these two conferences, the CARISCC Research Network will also host an online discussion one week before the events take place (during w/c 8 January 2018) to enable conference delegates, participants, network members and other interested parties to review, reflect on and pose questions about the proposed presentation themes in advance of the face-to-face conference discussions.

To contribute to the online discussion, please follow this link to review the conference abstracts:

If you would like to attend either of the afore-mentioned public events, please contact CARISCC’s Network Facilitator (Carol Ann Dixon) to reserve your place. As spaces are limited at both events, it is essential to book your place by (or before) Wednesday 10th January 2018. All requests to attend these events should be sent via email, c/o:

CARISCC Postgraduate Conference on Caribbean In/Securities and Creativity, Jamaica, 15 January 2018

The 3rd CARISCC Postgraduate Conference on Caribbean In/Securities and Creativity will take place at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, on Monday 15 January 2018, 9am-5pm.

This conferences builds on the success of two previous sessions held at the University of Birmingham (23 May 2016) and the University of Leeds (8 March 2017) in the UK.

A PDF of the provisional conference programme for 15 January can be downloaded here.

The conference will open with a welcome message and introduction by CARISCC’s Principal Investigator, Dr Patricia Noxolo. This will be followed by a keynote lecture from Dr Susan Mains (Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Dundee, UK), titled “Moving Caribbeans: Migration, Tourism and In/Secure Mobilities.”

We are delighted the following eight research papers by postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers will be presented throughout the day, grouped into three panel sessions:

Panel Session 1

  • “The prospects for evidence based sustainable development policies in Small Island Developing countries,” presented by Aleia Ahyoung, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica
  • “Parent-Child Reunification as a Consequence of Remigration among Trinidadian Transnational Families,” presented by Dr Mala Jokhan, University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago
  • “Challenges for Coastal Adaptation in Negril, Western Jamaica,” presented by Tashanna Walker, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA

Panel Session 2

  • “Machine-gun sonics and whispering tides: how sound and language in the work of Kamau Brathwaite and Mighty Sparrow provide acoustic inoculation against insecurities,” presented by Dr Mark Harris, University of Cincinnati, USA, and Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
  • “The Upper House, The Lower House, and the Jamettes: How an insecure, degrading title secured its place as one of the world’s most famous celebrated national festivals,” presented by Keri Johnson, University of Trinidad and Tobago
  • “The Portrayal of Women and Men in Caribbean music. Re-framing the lens using a gendered perspective,” presented by Dr Meagan Sylvester, University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago

Panel Session 3

  • “Four Women, For Women: Caribbean Artists Reimag(in)ing the Fine Art Canon and Shifting Paradigms,” presented by Dr Carol Ann Dixon, University of Birmingham, UK
  • “Out of One, Many People? – Visual Culture and the Politics of Difference in Kingston, Jamaica,” presented by Tracian Meikle, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Copies of these abstracts will be posted online via the CARISCC blog during the first week in January. In addition, a live online discussion will also take place one week before the conference to enable contributing speakers, delegates, members of the CARISCC Research Network and other interested parties to review, reflect on and raise questions about the topics and themes in advance of the presentations.

If you would like to contribute to the live discussion (scheduled for Monday 8 January 2018, 1-3pm GMT), please return to this page to access the link to the conference abstracts and submit your comments online. We will also be using the Twitter hashtag #CARISCC during the live debate to enable these conversations to continue via social media.

We look forward to welcoming you to the online discussion in early January, and wish all our contributors and delegates a successful CARISCC Postgraduate Conference in Jamaica on 15 January 2018.

Further information about the CARISCC conference can also be obtained by sending an email to Carol Ann Dixon (CARISCC Network Facilitator):


Visual artists’ responses to the theme “Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity”

Since the CARISCC network was launched in January 2016 a key aspect of its work has been to establish links with visual artists from the Caribbean and the wider global Caribbean diaspora to consider the various ways its research themes of in/security and creativity might be interpreted and expressed through different artistic media and genres.

The CARISCC Art Competition, launched towards the end of 2016 and open through to March 2017, was one of the primary conduits through which established and emerging contemporary visual artists with links to the Caribbean contributed examples of artwork from their portfolios. This diverse selection of entries became the foundation for the visual arts component of the network’s touring exhibition, “Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity,” which has been displayed at venues in Leeds, London and Glasgow throughout 2017.

In addition to this formal dialogue with artists, and the commissioning of a new artwork (“The Difficult Conversation”, 2017) by sculptor and conceptual artist Sonia E. Barrett, more informal links have also been established with other artists via CARISCC’s blog, its social media platforms and its schedule of conferences and events.

One recent example of a new artistic contact who came to the network’s attention earlier this year is the contemporary visual artist Kay O’Callaghan – a Canadian painter, now based in the UK, who travels regularly to Trinidad and Tobago to pursue new creative projects. Several of the figurative and landscape-based works in Kay O’Callaghan’s portfolio speak directly to the themes of in/security and creativity. However, one artwork that best exemplifies some of the more poignant issues pertaining to what she refers to as “the dichotomy of insecurity and creative self-expression” is her work “Carnival Girl” (2013) – an oil painting inspired by the artist’s own experiences of carnival, and her reflections on the wider cultural significance of masquerade, calypso, soca, and other street-based performance art.

“Carnival Girl” (2013) by Kay O’Callaghan. Painted in oils; Dimensions of the original approx. 42 x 60cm. Copyright: courtesy of the artist, Kay O’Callaghan.

During recent discussions about this work, Kay O’Callaghan described its key themes and aesthetic attributes in the following way:

“I feel this painting expresses the dichotomy of insecurity and creative self-expression that carnival encompasses. A poignant moment in the cacophony of color and sound swirling around her. I hope she speaks to why creativity empowers and heals.”

The artist also shared her personal interpretation of the thoughts, actions and emotions of the featured protagonist – “Carnival Girl” – as follows:

“For her, carnival is an opportunity to explore her extrovert self, culture and community despite life’s travails. But we cannot completely shed the scars that the real world leaves embossed on our psyche. It captures a moment of introspection in an otherwise exuberant carnival experience where my protagonist is taking creative control of her environment. She takes solace in the celebration, a sense of security in collective creative expression putting troubles aside and as Bob Marley put it: ‘Let’s get together and feel alright’ (Lyrics from “One Love / People Get Ready”; Exodus, 1977).”

CARISCC will continue to showcase the work of Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora visual artists, as above, through its blog and social media platforms. In addition, the next stage of the touring art exhibition will be displayed at the Midlands Art Centre (MAC), Birmingham, 5 May – 10 June 2018.

Additional opportunities to find out more about the network’s research, publications and ongoing international dialogues with partners and stakeholders from the wider education and culture sectors are also available via the network’s series of conferences and events. For example, the next CARISCC Postgraduate Conference on In/securities and Creativity will be taking place at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, 15 January 2018. For further information, please see:



Review of the CARISCC touring art exhibition and launch event in Leeds, 23-27 October 2017

The fourth stage of CARISCC’s touring display – ‘Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity: A Research and Art Exhibition’ – was hosted at Union 105 (East Street Arts), Chapeltown Road in Leeds, between Monday 23 October and Friday 27 October 2017.

Exhibition view of the sculptural installation ‘Pressure nah let up. Mrs Mac (not her real name) performs the “ono” bed’ (2007) by contemporary artist Sonia E. Barrett, visible from the entrance to Union 105 (East Street Arts) in Chapeltown, Leeds, 23 October 2017.

This stage of the tour was particularly important because it marked a return to the city of Leeds, whose Caribbean diaspora communities had helped to inspire the development of a newly commissioned sculptural installation by contemporary visual artist Sonia E. Barrett when she visited the city earlier this year.

Sonia’s thought-provoking installation piece – ‘The Difficult Conversation’ (2017) – was the focal point of the art exhibition, and featured pieces of wooden chairs, deconstructed and suspended from the ceiling to create a representation of human corporeality that poignantly signified the fragility and precariy of lives held in suspension by factors such as poverty, social exclusion, injustice, political marginalisation and the traumatic impacts and legacies of racism.

Exhibition view of the sculptural installation ‘The Difficult Conversation’ (2017), by contemporary visual artist Sonia E. Barrett, on display at Union 105 ( East Street Arts) in Leeds.Photo: Carol Dixon.

Other works featured in the exhibition were presented as part of a PowerPoint of images projected on the wall, and also as part of a looped sequence of video clips, photographic stills and digitized reproductions playing on a TV monitor in the exhibition space. Individual pieces by twelve contemporary visual artists with Caribbean heritage who had submitted entries for the CARISCC Art Competition during 2016 were shown in this digital display, including: figurative photo montage pieces and film-based installations by Sireita Mullings; the painting ‘Stick-Lick Dancers Parade’ by Paul Dash, featuring representations of street carnival masquerade performances; mixed-media collage work by Gina A. Smith, using the shape of a goat as a silhouette around which different images were layered to reference the impacts and vulnerabilities of global changes on the agricultural sector in the Caribbean region; and excerpts from the documentary film ‘Shashamane’ by Giulia Amati, which recounts the story of Rastas who have returned to continental Africa from Jamaica to live in the promised land of Shashamane, Ethiopia.

A launch event for the exhibition was held on Monday 23 October, attended by (among others) local artists and other residents from the Chapeltown area, scholars and students from the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University, organisers and contributors to Leeds Carnival, representatives of the Leeds West Indian Centre Charitable Trust and alumni from the nearby Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Principal Investigator Dr Patricia Noxolo (pictured centre right) introducing the writer and spoken word artist Khadijah Ibrahiim (pictured in the centre) at the launch of the CARISCC art exhibition in Leeds, 23 October 2017.

Following introductory presentations from CARISCC’s Principal Investigator, Dr Patricia Noxolo, and CARISCC Network Member Dr Anyaa Anim-Addo (Lecturer in Caribbean History, University of Leeds) the attending guests also enjoyed an inspirational poetic performance by local writer, theatre producer and spoken word artist Khadijah Ibrahiim.

Writer, theatre producer and spoken word artist Khadijah Ibrahiim reciting a poem at the launch event for the CARISCC art exhibition in Leeds, 23 October 2017.

One of Khadijah’s current creative writing projects involves researching the history, cultural legacies and spiritual practices of Obeah in Jamaica, so the audience heard a reading from a recently drafted prose piece by her, titled ‘Duppy know who fi frighten!’ This excellent presentation (read in English and Jamaican Patois) was performed as a ‘Call-and-Response’ piece, with guests invited to join in with the refrain. Khadijah’s work subsequently catalysed wide-ranging discussions about how African-influenced and syncretic spiritual practices in the Caribbean – such as Obeah, Santeria and Rastafarianism, etc. – have continued to inform and inspire the ever-changing hybrid forms of artistic and creative expression that exist in the islands and nations of the region today, as well as throughout the wider global diaspora. Some examples discussed at the event included the way styles of music, drumming practices, dancehall choreography, spoken word performances and contemporary manifestations of street carnivals – from Junkanoo through to Jouvert [J’ouvert] – celebrate the spiritual and affective/emotional experience of transcendence into alternative (and many would say ‘higher’) states of being.

As with all the previous stages of the touring exhibition, the CARISCC Network established links with important contacts in Leeds who are actively involved in developing African and Caribbean diaspora arts and culture initiatives. Some examples of the organisations with which Network members are now in contact include:

  • Chapeltown Arts, managed by visual artist Sandra Whytes –
  • Remember Oluwale – a charitable organisation who are fundraising to build a Garden of Hope in the centre of Leeds, in memory of  Nigerian migrant David Oluwale who died in the city in tragic circumstances during 1969 –
  • Organisers of the Leeds Carnival and contributors to the new book ‘Celebrate! 50 Years of Leeds West Indian Carnival,’ by Guy Farrar, Tim Smith and Max Farrar (with a foreword by Arthur France MBE, founder of the Leeds Carnival) –

The final stage of the CARISCC touring art exhibition will take place at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham during May and June 2018.

For further information about CARISCC, please also feel free to write to Dr Carol Ann Dixon (CARISCC Network Facilitator) c/o

Call for Papers: CARISCC Postgraduate Conference on In/securities and Creativity, Jamaica, 15 January 2018

Conference venue: The Blue Room, Mona Conference Centre, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Kingston, Jamaica

Date: Monday 15 January 2018, 9am – 5pm

Convener: Dr Patricia Noxolo, University of Birmingham, UK



Many scholars have highlighted the creative practices that Caribbean people routinely deploy in the face of insecurity caused by poverty, inequality, environmental challenges and violence. Although questions of Caribbean security and insecurity are often addressed as matters of governmental or military concern, this conference seeks to explore reconceptualisations of security and insecurity (in/security) through creativity.

We are interested in creativity in a broad sense, including artistic practices such as literature, film, theatre, dance, music and visual arts, but also the creative ways in which people live their lives (e.g. balance budgets, interpret policy, and perform politics).
In examining the links between precariousness and creativity, this CARISCC conference aims to bring together new approaches to the study of global security.

Therefore, CARISCC welcomes research papers and presentations which explore how in/security, as experienced and negotiated by ordinary people, informs creative and cultural practices in the Caribbean region.

This one-day interdisciplinary conference welcomes abstracts from scholars whose research concerns any aspect of Caribbean in/securities and creativity.


We particularly welcome presentation proposals / research papers that address (but are not limited to) the following topics and themes:

  • Creativity in negotiating livelihood in/securities;
  • Historical and contemporary in/securities and creativities;
  • In/secure transport(s) and mobilities;
  • In/security in visual and performance arts;
  • Reading and writing in/security;
  • Raced, gendered and sexual identities, in/security and creativity; and
  • Rural and urban in/securities and creativities.

Programme Details

In addition to scheduling three panel sessions (each comprising 3-4 papers / presentations), the conference also intends to offer:

  • Four travel bursaries (up to £500 GBP/$ 650 USD per person) to support conference attendance by a postdoctoral researcher or PhD candidate from within the Caribbean region who is not currently based at UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica;
  • Two keynote presentations – delivered by Dr Susan Mains (Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Dundee, UK, and CARISCC Network Member) and a guest scholar / arts practitioner invited from within the Caribbean region;
  • A welcome address from Dr Pat Noxolo (Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Birmingham, UK, and CARISCC’s Principal Investigator);
  • Refreshments and lunch.

Abstract Submission Guidelines

Please send abstracts of 200-300 words (in English) to Dr Patricia Noxolo (, using the subject heading “CARISCC Postgraduate Conference.” Please include your university affiliation details, your preferred email address and a short biography of up to 150 words. It is anticipated that each presentation/research paper will last 10-15 minutes; and updated programme details will be released prior to the date of the conference to confirm presentation requirements and duration.

If you would like to apply for a travel bursary, please attach, with your abstract, a short statement (no more than 300 words) on the relevance of the conference theme to your research, the reasons why you need a bursary to attend, as well as your estimated expenses.

The deadline for submitting abstracts and 150-word biographies (as well as bursary applications) is Friday 24 November 2017.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Patricia Noxolo
CARISCC Conference Convener and Principal Investigator

Please click on the following link to download the full text of this call for papers (in PDF format): CARISCC-PGR-Conference-Call-for-Papers-Jamaica-January2018


The CARISCC Art Exhibition in Leeds: Monday 23–Friday 27 October 2017

The CARISCC Research Network is currently hosting a series of touring art exhibitions around the UK to showcase work by a selection of established and emerging contemporary visual artists of Caribbean descent (from the region, and the wider Caribbean diaspora) who have created artworks that specifically address reconceptualisations of security and insecurity (in/security) through creativity.

The next stage of the tour – titled, ‘Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity: A Research and Art Exhibition’ – will be shown at Union 105 (East Street Arts) in Leeds, from Monday 23 October to Friday 27 October 2017.

One of the highlights of this particular edition of the exhibition will be two thought-provoking sculptural installations by the internationally famous conceptual artist Sonia E. Barrett: firstly, an early piece from the artist’s portfolio, titled ‘Pressure nah let up. Mrs Mac (not her real name) performs the “ono” bed’ (2007), featuring deconstructed elements from a 1950s articulated mattress; and, secondly, a more recent sculpture titled ‘The Difficult Conversation’ (2017), specially commissioned by CARISCC and made from found pieces of wooden furniture. When researching and developing the latter piece, Sonia spent time in Leeds over several weeks exploring the locality and meeting with local residents from the Chapeltown area – which makes this a very appropriate and poignant co-produced installation to be showcasing in the city.

As illustrated in the photograph, the pieces of wood and other materials featured in ‘The Difficult Conversation’ are suspended from wires in a way that signifies people’s lives being “held in suspension.” The table legs, chair frames and other pieces of furniture from which Sonia’s works are made also symbolise aspects of black corporeality. Observing these works, therefore, encourages deep reflection on the histories and legacies of transatlantic enslavement – and the traumatic physical and psychological brutalities people of African descent endured throughout the Maafa, and beyond.

The Difficult Conversation
‘The Difficult Conversation’ (2017), a CARISCC-commissioned mixed-media sculpture by the contemporary visual artist Sonia E. Barrett.

Continue reading “The CARISCC Art Exhibition in Leeds: Monday 23–Friday 27 October 2017”

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: