Invisible Heritage: Transfer 2017 is a visual arts exhibition featuring recent work by Virgin Islands artists who are actively engaged in a conversation about the islands' colonial history, including the last 100 years as a US colony as well as the legacy of previous centuries. Themes of resistance, migration, identity, erasure, and visibility—as it relates to the structural history of colonialism and the ways in which it is manifested today—are among some of the topics that inform their work. This large scale, multimedia exhibition will include works by artists La Vaughn Belle (STX), David Berg (STX), Janet Cook-Rutnik (STJ), Edgar Endress (VA formerly STJ), Jon Euwema (STT), Gerville Larsen (STX), Lori Lee (FL formerly STJ) , Ellington Robinson (STT/DC), and Niarus Walker (STX). The show will also feature a presentation of student work featuring designs by island students for a new Virgin Islands flag.
Invisible Heritage, as conceived and organized by curator Monica Marin, “addresses the ways in which vernacular culture- creole architecture, music, dance, folk tales and other cultural forms- reveal the blind spots and hidden story of our colonial and imperial history in the US Virgin Islands. Power works through historical discourse. In the VI, the Danish perspective of the colonial narrative has primarily been the focus of our history, thereby creating blind spots that conceal the African Caribbean contributions to our cultural landscape…” This, the second phase of the Invisible Heritage project, culminates with a visual arts exhibition featuring contemporary artists from the region who have begun to reframe the narrative through their artistic interventions. The Centennial provides a platform of visibility upon which to take a critical look at the stories, events, and people that have been excluded and to celebrate the rich African diasporic vernacular traditions that were created despite the many restrictions imposed by colonialism. These artists help us to reimagine our collective history in powerful ways and transform how we understand not only history and memory, but culture. Through their “revisions” they creolize methodology to create new culture, promoting the question: How can we utilize these new materials and approaches so that we can operate from the inside? And, by using the Centennial as a marker, how can we manifest our own destinies, reframe our past, define our own terms and be in control of our development?
This exhibition will include a public art component and student engagement workshop in which the student’s work will also be on display. Visiting artists/scholars along with Virgin Islands artists and teachers will conduct several student workshops within the public high schools. The group show, Invisible Heritage: Transfer 2017 will open at Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in Frederiksted on Friday, March 24, from 6 - 8:30 PM. A panel discussion composed of VI artists and scholars will take place on Saturday, March 25, from 10 AM to 12 Noon. This exhibition is scheduled to travel to the VI Cultural Embassy in Copenhagen, DK in June, 2017.
This project is funded in part by a grant from the VI Transfer Centennial Commission, the VI Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.