INVISIBLE HERITAGE: Identity, Memory and Our Towns
With support from the V.I. Council on the Arts, The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts (CMCArts) is excited to announce its upcoming artist in residence Kendal Henry (from February 10-19th) for his third visit to St. Croix to engage the community around the issue of revitalization, and the power of art to transform culture. Mr. Henry is one of the world's leading public art consultants and currently manages NYC’s Dept. of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program.
During CMCArts’ Second Thursday on February 11th from 5:30-7:30pm, Kendal will give a talk on public art and introduce the collaborative project “Invisible Heritage: Identity Memory and Our Towns,” that he is working on with local curator Monica Marin. This project asks artists and writers to approach the topic critically by bringing to light some of the histories that have been made invisible or marginalized. Artists will draw inspiration from the rich African Diasporic Vernacular traditions of the VI as seen in the built heritage, music (Quelbe, Cariso), dance (Bamboulah), storytelling and other art forms. This project will culminate in a show at CMCArts on April 20th as part of the Literary Festival.
Friday, February 12th at 10 am at CMCArts Kendal will meet with local artists, policy makers and Senator Jackson to offer his expertise on a bill that Senator Myron D. Jackson has drafted to enact a one percent art fund locally. That evening on Friday, February 12th from 5:30-7:30 at CMCArts, Clean Sweep of Frederiksted will host an evening of living stories where presenters Wayne “Bully” Petersen and Eugene “Doc” Petersen will tell stories in the Anansi tradition and a panel of Elders will share their personal accounts of growing up in Frederiksted.
The following day on Saturday February 13th from 3-5pm Frandelle Gerard (CHANT) will lead a walking tour of Frederiksted that highlights the historic “Free Gut” community and the families and business that were located there. Historian George Tyson will also share insight that he has compiled from the St. Croix African Roots Database documenting the stories of the families from St. Croix living during the period of Danish rule (1734-1917). These oral histories as well as archival material will provide the back bone for this community project.
During his week-long residency Kendal will meet with University of the Virgin Islands and Good Hope Country Day School students to share his latest work from around the world. He will also conduct studio visits with artists La Vaughn Belle, Gerville Larsen, Mike Walsh and others who are creating work as part of the project.
“Art has the power to transform culture – it can change neighbourhoods and people,” said Kendal Henry. He is a Crucian native, who left the island in 1985 after graduating from John H. Woodsen Junior High school. Kendal Henry is an artist and curator specializing in public art for over twenty-five years. He illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for social engagement, civic pride and economic development through the projects and programs he’s initiated in the US, Europe, Asia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the Caribbean. Kendal believes that the most successful public artworks start with the question, “What is the artwork to achieve?” and takes into account the audience and surrounding environment in the creation of that artwork. He’s currently the Director of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program and an adjunct professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.