Liminal Spaces: Migration and Women of the Guyanese Diaspora
Edited by Grace Aneiza Ali
Publication Date: Sep 11, 2020
List Price: $50.00
Format: Hardcover, 234 pages
Imprint: Open Book Publishers
Publisher: Open Book Publishers
Parent Company: Open Book Publishers
Down the PDF version of Liminal Spaces, which is made available free of charge by OpenBook Publishers.
Liminal Spaces is an intimate exploration into the migration narratives of fifteen women of Guyanese heritage. It spans diverse inter-generational perspectives – from those who leave Guyana, and those who are left – and seven seminal decades of Guyana’s history – from the 1950s to the present day – bringing the voices of women to the fore. The volume is conceived of as a visual exhibition on the page; a four-part journey navigating the contributors’ essays and artworks, allowing the reader to trace the migration path of Guyanese women from their moment of departure, to their arrival on diasporic soils, to their reunion with Guyana.
Eloquent and visually stunning, Liminal Spaces unpacks the global realities of migration, challenging and disrupting dominant narratives associated with Guyana, its colonial past, and its post-colonial present as a ‘disappearing nation’. Multimodal in approach, the volume combines memoir, creative non-fiction, poetry, photography, art and curatorial essays to collectively examine the mutable notion of ‘homeland’, and grapple with ideas of place and accountability.
This volume is a welcome contribution to the scholarly field of international migration, transnationalism, and diaspora, both in its creative methodological approach, and in its subject area – as one of the only studies published on Guyanese diaspora. It will be of great interest to those studying women and migration, and scholars and students of diaspora studies.
Grace Aneiza Ali is a Curator and an Assistant Professor and Provost Fellow in the Department of Art & Public Policy at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in New York City. Ali’s curatorial research practice centers on socially engaged art practices, global contemporary art, and art of the Caribbean Diaspora, with a focus on her homeland Guyana. She serves as Curator-at-Large for the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in New York. She is Founder and Curator of Guyana Modern, an online platform for contemporary arts and culture of Guyana and Founder and Editorial Director of OF NOTE Magazine—an award-winning nonprofit arts journalism initiative reporting on the intersection of art and activism. Her awards and fellowships include NYU Provost Faculty Fellow, Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellow, and Fulbright Scholar. She has been named a World Economic Forum ‘Global Shaper.’ Ali was born in Guyana and migrated to the United States with her family when she was fourteen years old.
Khadija Benn was born in Canada to Guyanese parents and currently lives and works in Guyana as a geospatial analyst. She is a faculty member of the Department of Geography at the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Guyana. Her research focuses on digital cartography, community development, and place attachment. As a self-taught photographer, her practice is formed around portraiture and documentary work. Her images have been exhibited at Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art (USA), CARIFESTA XIII (Barbados), the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (USA), and Addis Foto Fest (Ethiopia); and featured in ARC Magazine and Transition Magazine.
Sandra Brewster is a Canadian visual artist based in Toronto. Her work explores identity, representation and memory, and centering Black presence. The daughter of Guyanese-born parents, she is especially attuned to the experiences of people of Caribbean heritage and their ongoing relationships with their homelands. Brewster’s work has been featured in the Art Gallery of Ontario (2019-2020), she is the 2018 recipient of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Artist Prize and her exhibition It’s all a blur… received the Gattuso Prize for outstanding featured exhibition at the CONTACT Photography Festival 2017. Brewster holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto. She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects.
Erika DeFreitas was born in Canada. Her mother migrated from Guyana to Canada in 1970. As a Scarborough-based artist, her practice includes the use of performance, photography, video, installation, textiles, works on paper, and writing. Placing an emphasis on process, gesture, the body, documentation, and paranormal phenomena, she works through attempts to understand concepts of loss, post-memory, inheritance, and objecthood. DeFreitas’ work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She was the recipient of the TFVA 2016 Finalist Artist Prize, the 2016 John Hartman Award, and longlisted for the 2017 Sobey Art Award. DeFreitas holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto.
Ingrid Griffith, writer and actor, migrated to the United States from Guyana as an adolescent in 1974. Her experiences as a child in Guyana and an immigrant in the United States have formed the wellspring of her creative inspiration. Griffith has appeared in Off-Broadway theatrical productions in classical and contemporary roles. In 2014, she debuted her first solo show at Manhattan International Theater Festival. The award-winning and internationally successful, Demerara Gold, is about a Caribbean girl’s immigrant experience; Demerara Gold was published by NoPassport Press in 2016. Griffith’s recently crafted solo show, titled Unbossed & Unbowed, explores the life of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black Congresswoman in US history. In March 2020, Unbossed & Unbowed debuted at Hear Her Call Caribbean-American Women’s Theater Festival where Griffith won an award for Outstanding Playwriting. Griffith teaches Public Speaking and Theater History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The chapter included in this anthology will be part of her soon to be finished memoir.
Natalie Hopkinson, PhD, is the Canadian-born daughter of Serena Hopkinson. She is an Assistant Professor in the doctoral program of the Communication, Culture and Media Studies department at Howard University, a fellow of the Interactivity Foundation, and a former editor, staff writer, and culture and media critic at TheWashington Post and The Root. Her third book of essays, A Mouth is Always Muzzled (2018) is about contemporary art and politics in Guyana. She lives with her family in Washington, DC.
Serena Hopkinson is a retired accountant and arts administrator, and a graduate of Florida Atlantic University. She grew up on the Pomeroon River in Guyana. She is a mother of four, grandmother of six, and a fierce competitor on the tennis court.
Dominique Hunter is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in Guyana, where she was born. Her artistic practice critiques the (non)-representation of Black female bodies in art history and stereotypical portrayals in contemporary print media. Her recent work has expanded to include strategies for coping with the weight of those impositions by examining the value of self-care practices. Hunter has exhibited both in the Caribbean and in the US. She has been an Artist-in-Residence with Caribbean Linked IV and the Vermont Studio Center, where she was awarded the Reed Foundation Fellowship.
Maria del Pilar Kaladeen was born and currently lives in London. She is an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London working on the system of indenture in Guyana and its representation in literature. Having left school at fifteen and returned to education as an adult, she went on to receive a PhD in English Literature from the University of London in 2013. She is the co-editor of We Mark Your Memory (2018), the first international anthology on the system of indenture in the British Empire. Her life-writing has been published in Wasafiri and the anthology Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children (2018), which was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize in 2019.
Maya Mackrandilal is an American-born transdisciplinary artist and writer based in Los Angeles. Mackrandilal holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was a recipient of a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and a BA from the University of Virginia, where she was a recipient of an Auspaugh Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship. Her artwork has been shown nationally, including the Chicago Artists Coalition (where she was a HATCH Artist-in-Residence), Smack Mellon, THE MISSION, Abrons Art Center, The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, and the Armory Center for the Arts. She has presented artwork and research at national conferences, including the College Art Association, Association for Asian American Studies, the Critical Mixed Race Studies Association, and Open Engagement. Her writing, which explores issues of race, gender, and labor, has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New Inquiry, Drunken Boat, contemptorary, Skin Deep, and MICE Magazine.
Suchitra Mattai was born in Guyana in 1973 and first migrated to Canada with her family in 1976 before they came to the US. Mattai received an MFA in painting and drawing and an MA in South Asian art, both from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in various online and print publications such as Hyperallergic, Document Journal, Cultured Magazine, Wallpaper Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Entropy Magazine, The Daily Serving, and New American Paintings. Mattai has been exhibited nationally and internationally including at the Sharjah Biennial 14, State of the Art 2020 at Crystal Bridges Museum/the Momentary, Denver Art Museum/Biennial of the Americas, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the Center on Contemporary Art Seattle, and the Art Museum of the Americas, among others.
Christie Neptune is an interdisciplinary artist working across film, photography, mixed media and performance arts. Her family migrated from Guyana to New York. Neptune holds a BA from Fordham University, New York City. Her films and photography have been included in shows at BASS Museum, Miami (2019); the University of Massachusetts Boston (2018); Rubber Factory, New York (2017); A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, New York (2016); and Rutgers University (2015) among others. She has been featured in publications including Artforum, Hyperallergic, JuxtapozeMagazine, and The Washington Post. Neptune has been awarded the More Art Engaging Artist Residency, The Hamiltonian Gallery Fellowship, The Bronx Museum of the Arts: Artist in Marketplace (AIM), Smack Mellon Studio Residency through the New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship, The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship, and The NXTHVN Studio Fellowship. Neptune is currently an Artists Alliance Inc. LES Studio Program Artist-in-Residence.
Grace Nichols was born and educated in Guyana. Since migrating to England in 1977, she has written award-winning poetry collections and anthologies for both adults and children. Her first collection, I is a Long Memoried Woman (1983) won the 1983 Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Other poetry collections include, The Fat Black Woman’s Poems (1984), Sunris (1996)—which won the 1997 Guyana Poetry Prize—and Startling the Flying Fish (2005), are all published by Virago. Her adult novel, Whole of a Morning Sky (1986) isset in Guyana. Her poetry collections Picasso, I Want My Face Back (2009), I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected Poems (2010), The Insomnia Poems (2017), and the most recent, Passport to Here and There (2020), are all published by Bloodaxe Books. Nichols was the Poet-in-Residence at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados and at the Tate Gallery, London, 1999-2000. She received a Cholmondeley Award for her work and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hull. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Keisha Scarville was born to Guyanese parents who migrated to the US in the 1960s. She is a photo and mixed media artist based in Brooklyn, New York and Adjunct Faculty at the International Center of Photography. Her work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum of Harlem, Rush Arts Gallery, BRIC, Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Diasporan Arts, and The Brooklyn Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, TheVillage Voice, Hyperallergic, Vice, and Transition, among others. Scarville has been awarded various residencies, including from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Vermont Studio Center, and Baxter Street CCNY.
Michelle Joan Wilkinson, PhD, is a writer and curator of Guyanese descent. As a Curator at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, she works on projects related to contemporary Black life and architecture and design. In her previous roles, she curated over twenty exhibitions, including two award-winning shows: For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People and Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists. Wilkinson holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD from Emory University. In 2012, she was a fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership, for which she completed a short-term residency at the Design Museum in London. From 2019 2020, she was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design.
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