PHILIPSBURG:—Curator, producer and writer Sasha Dees (www.sashadees.com) who has been working in Amsterdam and New York for over 20 years, is visiting St. Maarten / St. Martin until July 29, 2018. Dees is researching the sustainability of professional art practices and the influence of international (exchange) projects, funding and markets in the Caribbean Region.
Dees has been in the region since November 2017 and will be travelling until the end of 2018. She will be visiting Dutch, English, French and Spanish speaking islands to get a complete view of the region and take the different colonial histories and present political social systems in consideration. So far she has visited Ayiti, Dominican Republic, Kòrsou, Aruba, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and St. Croix (V.I.) and now St. Maarten. She will continue to visit Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Cuba and the Bahama’s. Her research comes out of her own personal interest and practice and is not for a PhD or academic fellowship. It is in part made possible by Mondriaanfonds, the Dutch National Visual Art Foundation and by art practitioners that host her on the different islands. In St. Maarten Dees is hosted by Head of the Cultural Department and NIA co-founder Clara Reyes. They were introduced by St. Maarten born visual artist Deborah Jack and met in person at the Tilting Axis Conference in Dominican Republic this past May/June.
Dees is mapping out the Art-infrastructure per island and is visiting, meeting and interviewing a wide range of people in the contemporary arts: artists, gallerists, curators, museums and other institutions, funders, collectors, art dealers, art historians and critics. She is building a simple database of the people she is meeting and is sharing this network and access with everybody in it. Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht is looking into making this database and mapping of the art infrastructure in the region a credited project for their students to work on in the curriculum for the department of Art & Economy. They would digitalize, maintain and build upon the network Dees is building as an open source so the information can always be current and keeping it free to the Art field in the region. While travelling Dees is also making connections between artists and organizations in the region that share similar visions and organize similar activities.
To open up the art field in the region to a wider audience she is writing a weekly article in Dutch for the Dutch Art E-zine Trendbeheer (https://trendbeheer.com/author/sd/) and a monthly article in English for Art E-zine Africanah (http://africanah.org/caribbean-travelogue-part-1-haiti/). She is daily posting works by artists that live and work in the Caribbean on Instagram and does frequent postings on her various social media outlets. In 2019/2020 after her research she will work on a book about her experiences travelling in the region to be published by Amsterdam University Press.
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