1-54 Presents is pleased to announce Transatlantic Connections: Caribbean Narratives in Contemporary Art, a group exhibition presented on the occasion of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair’s 11th London edition. On view at Christie’s, London from 10 – 13 October 2023, this exhibition brings together a curated selection of works by artists from the Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora to explore cultural similarities across generations and geographies. Transatlantic Connections is the second-ever show by 1-54 Presents, a new programme of pop-up exhibitions by 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, and will feature work by Juan Carlos Alom, Sonia Elizabeth Barrett, Sonia Boyce, Helen Cammock, Michael Forbes, Satch Hoyt, Nadia Huggins, Alain Joséphine, Anina Major, Marcia Michael, Johanna Mirabel, Lavar Munroe, Horace Ové, Zak Ové, Ada M. Patterson, Sheena Rose, Jamilah Sabur, Charmaine Watkiss, Alberta Whittle, Aubrey Williams.
Spanning works across painting, photography, installation, and sculpture, this presentation is rooted in twentieth century Martinican thinkers Aimé Césaire’s concept of Négritude – the notion that black peoples share a collective identity, consciousness and culture – and Edouard Glissant’s theory of The Rhizome. As such, whilst aesthetically varied, the exhibition looks at the rich tapestry of creative practices, experiences, and narratives shared across the Caribbean and its diaspora, despite the archipelago’s sociological and historical diversity.
The assertive abstractions of Aubrey Williams, rendered expressively in oil, sharply contrast Charmaine Watkiss’s delicate figurative illustrations, which contrast still the digital photographic work of Michael Forbes. Yet the links that run throughout Transatlantic Connections are numerous. A recurrent theme in the exhibition is that of heritage, migration, and the intersections of various cultures. From Alberta Whittle’s work Today, I have left my armour at home to Anina Major’s ceramic Ruby’s Easter Hat, many of the featured artists acknowledge the logistic concerns inherent in presenting art from a region as diverse as the Caribbean, where numerous factors such as geographic barriers, cultural diversity, and historical colonial legacies intersect to shape the artistic narrative within Caribbean diasporic communities across the archipelago, and beyond.
Another prevalent thread throughout the show is that of diasporic identity. Described by Jamaican – British cultural theorist Stuart Hall as ‘constructed across different, often intersecting and antagonistic, discourses, practices and positions’, diasporic identity is inherently multifaceted, or fragmented, and ever evolving. This fragmentation plays out visually in the all-over compositions of Sonia Boyce, Alain Joséphine and Satch Hoyt, whilst it manifests conceptually in the work of Jamilah Sabur and Johanna Mirabel – whose intimate scenes of domesticity visualise the push-pull dynamics of living between two cultures.
Traversing individual experiences and collective identities, Transatlantic Connections: Caribbean Narratives in Contemporary Art brings together a range of works from some of the most exciting modern and contemporary Caribbean artists of the last 50 years. Additionally, falling within the 75th anniversary year of the MV Empire Windrush’s arrival in the UK, Transatlantic Connections hopes to spotlight and celebrate the significant contributions of Afro-Caribbean artists to the cultural fabric of their adopted homelands, and the wider world.
Opening dates & hours
10 – 13 October 2023
9 AM – 5 PM
8 King St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6QT