[First paragraph]Caribbean Art. VEERLE POUPEYE. London: Thames and Hudson, 1998. 224 pp. (Paper US$ 14.95)Transforming the Crown: African, Asian and Caribbean Artists in Britain, 1966-1996. MORA J. BEAUCHAMP-BYRD & M. FRANKLIN SIRMANS (eds.). New York: Caribbean Cultural Center, 1998. 177 pp. (Paper US$ 39.95,£31.95)"Caribbean" (like "Black British") culture is (as a Dutch colleague once said of postmodernism) a bit of a slippery fish. One of the books under review here presents the eclectic artistic productions of professional artists with Caribbean identities of varying sorts - some of them lifelong residents of the region (defined broadly to stretch from Belize and the Bahamas to Curacao and Cayenne), some born in the Caribbean but living elsewhere, and others from far-away parts of the world who have lingered or settled in the Caribbean. The other focuses on artists who trace their cultural heritage variously to Lebanon, France, Malaysia, Spain, China, England, Guyana, India, the Caribbean, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and the whole range of societies in West, East, and Central Africa, all of whom meet under a single ethnic label in galleries in New York and London. Clearly, the principles that vertebrate Caribbean Art and Transforming the Crown are built on the backs of ambiguities, misperceptions, ironies, and ethnocentric logics (not to mention their stronger variants, such as racism). Yet far from invalidating the enterprise, they offer an enlightening inroad to the social, cultural, economic, and political workings of artworlds that reflect globally orchestrated pasts of enormous complexity.
Sally Price and Sally Price
Western commentary on Maroon tembe (woodcarving) has traditionally insisted, despite Maroon denials, that it constitutes a system of symbolic motifs that can be read like a language, transmitting messages from the artist (a man) to the recipient of the art (a woman). Some of the Maroon artists in Guyane, working mainly with paint rather than carving, have adopted and promoted the stereotype in the context of rapid integration into the tourist market. This paper, which includes Maroon women’s views on the subject, underscores the delicacy of questioning the artists’ new discourse.
Essay on interpretations of visual art in societies of the African diaspora. Author relates this to recent shifts in anthropology and art history/criticism toward an increasing combining of art and anthropology and integration of art with social and cultural developments, and the impact of these shifts on Afro-American studies. To exemplify this, she focuses on clothing (among Maroons in the Guianas), quilts, and gallery art. She emphasizes the role of developments in America in these fabrics, apart from just the African origins.