ANNALEE DAVIS – ARTIST STATEMENT
My lived experience as a white Creole woman in a post-independent nation state provides historical and personal contexts for my work. I was born and raised on several sugarcane plantations, with all the related historical associations. Researching 19th/20th century archives, il/legitimate family trees, and Walkers - a contemporary working dairy farm originally operational as a sugar plantation from the 1660s – provide context for my practices. The intersection of biography and history allows me to interrogate my identity as a white Creole woman against contrasting official narratives of simply constructed white identity.
My practice engages with the residue of the Caribbean plantation through drawings, installations, video, objects and activism. Since 2011, the social practice project, The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. has functioned from my studio as an intervention within a plantation site, countering the traumatic history that reinforced hierarchies, bred insecurity about belonging and determined notions of human worth within Caribbean society. The scientific process, ‘phytoremediation’, provides a conceptual framework to remove psychological toxicity and restore balance through creative interventions. Embracing Glissant’s inclusive theories of ‘poetic relations’ and ‘rhizomatic thought’ my work facilitates conceptual bridges between traumatic history and living together in difference.
I am motivated to offer counterpoints to perpetually fixed constructs of (i) the plantation as a site of trauma, violence and exclusivity, and (ii) the white Creole population as a homogenous, monolithic, essential category. I am fascinated by how history accumulates, crumples and reshuffles allowing other possibilities and positions to emerge. My interest is in using my creative and social practices to address questions of trauma, violence and boundaries, and link honesty, fiction and the imagination. Complicating history by assembling multiple perspectives enable potentialities for moving forward responsibly, empowering us to actively transform the ways in which we think, feel and interface as human beings.
Annalee Davis is a Visual Artist living and working in Barbados. She received a B.F.A from the Maryland Institute, College of Art and an M.F.A. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She has been making and showing her work regionally and internationally since the early nineties. Her commitment as an artist is demonstrated through a body of work, including installation, video, sound work, printmaking, drawing and painting.
Since 2011, Annalee has been the founding director of the artist-led initiative - The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. An experiment, a cultural lab and an act of resistance, Fresh Milk supports excellence among emerging contemporary creatives locally, throughout the Caribbean, its diaspora and internationally. Located on a working dairy farm and a former sugar cane plantation, Fresh Milk is a nurturing entity; transforming a once exclusive space to become a freely accessible platform with programming supportive of new modes of thinking and interfacing.
Annalee is a part-time tutor in the BFA programme at the Barbados Community College.
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