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The Pioneers of TransAmerican Art: in the footsteps of a Caribbean Diaspora aesthetic

Les pionniers de l’art transaméricain : dans le sillage d'une esthétique diasporique caribéenne

“Angles” journal

Revue « Angles »

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Published on Thursday, April 18, 2024

Abstract

Contributors to this thematic issue of Angles are invited to underline the connection to these ancestral memories and explore their current resurgence in the visual and living arts. Contributions can bear on scientific, fictional, and secular literature, the genius of dance and music, and the visual, scenic, culinary, performing, visual and ritual arts. Themes of interest could include but are not limited to, decoloniality, body politics, representation, restorative justice, Caribbean indigenous thought and practices, and diasporic art spaces. In the spirit of collegiality that animates this publication project, we intend to create the same dynamic between the communities of researchers and artists of the Greater Anglophone Caribbean. This dynamic is therefore open to all those who want to maintain a constructive dialogue to advance the knowledge and sharing of Caribbean aesthetics in the footsteps of the pioneers of TransAmerican art.

Announcement

Argument

The artistic space of the Greater Anglophone Caribbean is being built every day thanks to the pioneering acts of artists leaving their comfort zone to venture into unknown territories. According to Curdella Forbes, “The meta-archipelago, like Chaos, is a repeating island, without centre or limits, and this becomes its center and its limit. The Caribbean exists in no one island nor in the sum of the islands; it is a diaspora in all possible dimensions. The Caribbean then, is as much an idea as it is a cultural confluence” (2000, 76). Like scouts on a reconnaissance mission, the surveyors of TransAmerican art take their first steps into the field of radical otherness in response to the call of the city: to return with a mental map of Elsewhere that is transmissible to the Diaspora.

 At the core of their quest is a nagging question: what is beyond the border and how can their journey leave its mark on posterity? Whether they were explorers or simple adventurers, the action of their singular approach, or of their collective research, will leave in its wake a legacy of traces, marks, and beacons that need to be seized. The intellectual dynamic on which this collective volume capitalizes is precisely in line with such a perspective. It analyzes the productive impact of this quest, starting from two hypotheses on the nature and scope of the discoveries made in the field of TransAmerican art.

 The first one is based on a diasporic conceptualization of the episteme. The challenge, here, as Fanon puts it, is to spot the right beacons and not be deluded by the sirens of coloniality that blur sight and deafen ears: “ The basic confrontation which seemed to be colonialism versus anti-colonialism, [...] is already losing its importance [...] what matters today, the issue which blocks the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth” (Wretched of the Earth, 1968: 53) because “there is no compromise, no possible coming to terms; colonization and decolonization is simply a question of relative strength” (Id., 61). In light of this, the very concept of TransAmerican awareness appears as an extended hand to deal with the issue of commitment.  Consequently, the "discursive regularities" observable in the field of Caribbean art - or more broadly, that of TransAmerican art - show collusions of meanings and practices linking the artists of the Americas since the earliest pre-Columbian times where Indigenous cultures laid the foundations of transdisciplinary ekphrasis. The hypothesis that we intend to test here is that the plastic or aesthetic "discourse" of the Greater Anglophone Caribbean has the value of a space of intelligibility, of semiological or praxeological connivance apprehensible by the recurrence of signs, topoi, and ideals in the TransAmerican creations and their fields of reception.

 The second hypothesis proposes that the resourcing of Caribbean ethno-aesthetics is based on the return to the first steps of the artists-pioneers of Transamerica. The term "pioneer" takes then the sense of "discoverer" but also of "innovator," like Ebony Patterson and Colin Garland (Jamaica), Lavar Munroe (Bahamas), or Horace Ové and Carol Boyce Davies (Trinidad & Tobago), John Lie A Fo (Surinam) or Mason Richards (Guyana). It embraces as well, on the pragmatic level, the historicity of an individual enterprise - in the sense that art historians understand it - as a broader range of meanings going from the itinerant creation/exhibition to the system of diasporic circulation of the schemas and motifs that found the singularity and originality of TransAmerican art.

 Studying the diachronic processes of re-appropriation leads to welcome attempts at gains, risks, and losses as beacons on the paths of knowledge. The cosmopolitan aesthetics of the great TransAmerican Diaspora is, at its core, the diasporic repository of a millennial heritage, the bearer of a rich and complex civilization encoded in the mangrovian culture of the Greater Caribbean. Being part of a diasporic continuum, it is based on an oral, iconic, textual and performative literature which is itself a carrier of traditions. The fact that these symbolic, semiotic, mythological, teleological (inherent to Mesoamerican art), and experiential dimensions may have seemed abstruse to the eyes of the first Western chroniclers in no way obviates their intrinsic and primary quality, as the growing interest in native art studies attests today. The TransAmerican aesthetic that the peoples of the Americas have created, recreated, and transmitted for centuries aspires to discursive autonomy and generic authenticity. It supports the march of a civilization that has been progressing for millennia, despite all the obstacles that one would like to oppose it, as testified by recent connections between arts and reparation movements in the Americas. It founds the raison d'être and the daily heritage of the peoples of the Greater Anglophone Caribbean.

Contributors to this thematic issue of Angles are invited to underline the connection to these ancestral memories and explore their current resurgence in the visual and living arts. Contributions can bear on scientific, fictional, and secular literature, the genius of dance and music, and the visual, scenic, culinary, performing, visual and ritual arts. Themes of interest could include but are not limited to, decoloniality, body politics, representation, restorative justice, Caribbean indigenous thought and practices, and diasporic art spaces. In the spirit of collegiality that animates this publication project, we intend to create the same dynamic between the communities of researchers and artists of the Greater Anglophone Caribbean. This dynamic is therefore open to all those who want to maintain a constructive dialogue to advance the knowledge and sharing of Caribbean aesthetics in the footsteps of the pioneers of TransAmerican art.

Topics

Topics may include, but not limited to - 

  • Music
  • Dance
  • Art
  • Film & Media
  • Theatre and Performing Arts
  • Popular culture
  • Fashion
  • Carnivals and Festivals
  • Literary Arts
  • Culinary Arts
  • Arts Management, Public Policy, 
  • Race/Gender/Sexuality
  • Feminism, Women's and Gender Studies
  • Caribbean Transnationality & Diaspora
  • Ancestral memory
  • Syncretism, Spirituality, Religion, Ritual
  • Postcolonial/Anti-colonial activism
  • Reparations/Repatriation/Restorative justice

Guest editors

  • Frédéric Lefrançois, Université des Antilles, Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Lettres, Langues, Arts et Sciences Humaines (CRILLASH) – UR6_2, Société des Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur (SAES), European Association for the Studies of Theatre and Performance (EASTAP)
  • D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson, Bowling Green State University, International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) (African and Caribbean Performance Working Group), Caribbean Studies Association (CSA), Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)

Submission guidelines

Please submit abstracts (250 words) and a brief bio (one paragraph) for your proposed papers and/or digital media, visual arts with artists' statements that cover a range of topics for "The Pioneers of TransAmerican Art: In the Footsteps of a Caribbean Diaspora Aesthetics" (Abstracts - 250 words) to: 

  • Dr.  Frédéric Lefrançois, Université des Antilles, Martinique : frederic.lefrancois@univ-antilles.fr or frederic.lefrancois.scholar@gmail.com

&

  • Dr. D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA : forbeda@bgsu.edu or forbes.erickson.1@gmail.com

by Monday, June 3, 2024


Date(s)

  • Monday, June 03, 2024

Keywords

  • Americas, Caribbean, Art,

Contact(s)

  • Frédéric LEFRANCOIS
    courriel : frederic [dot] lefrancois [dot] scholar [at] gmail [dot] com
  • D. Amy-Rose FORBES-ERICKSON
    courriel : forbeda [at] bgsu [dot] edu

Information source

  • Frédéric LEFRANCOIS
    courriel : frederic [dot] lefrancois [dot] scholar [at] gmail [dot] com

License

CC-BY-4.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International - CC BY 4.0 .

To cite this announcement

Frédéric LEFRANCOIS, D. Amy-Rose FORBES-ERICKSON, « The Pioneers of TransAmerican Art: in the footsteps of a Caribbean Diaspora aesthetic », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, April 18, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/w8pv

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