Marginalia - Santa Lucía

Fiona Compton

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#45: Know Your Caribbean

Every month Marginalia invites an artist, curator or project to provide a series of images that will serve as the background of Terremoto, in relation to their practice and current interests. At the end of each month, the identity of our guest is revealed and the whole series of images is unveiled. Here is the selection of February of 2019.

The Know Your Caribbean initiative is a project geared at looking at the good, the bad and the beauty of our past. Intertwined with tragedy, the complexities of our past are actually deeper than we realize. Only through unearthing these stories do we come to understand many things about ourselves, from our mannerisms, dialects, the songs we sing, the food we eat, the way we marry, and our outlook on religion, and race. There is so much of what we do, and think, and do not know the root, all we know is that this is what we are—yet we do not know who we are or why we are.

Scratch the surface of any romanticized image of the Caribbean, and just below our shining skins lay the stories of our forefathers and mothers who bore the brunt of living and dying in one of the most inhumane societies in the world—and yet they sang the very songs we sing now, they danced the very dances we snap for ‘da gram—, from meager scraps they made the food we cherish the most, and somehow without us knowing, the drum beat will draw us to our feet via our heart, and for those few short moments we remember something that we never knew we had forgotten.

The Caribbean is not just black… and white, with long forgotten stories of its indigenous peoples. We are the mulattos born of rape, or outlawed love, as seen in Agostino Brunias’ paintings, we are the rebels who were written out of the history books like Carlota of Cuba, or Carib Warner of Dominica, or the three Queens of the Fireburn, we are the ivory white of John Stedman’s skin as he trudged through the rainforest of Suriname hunting the ebony black of our maroon forefathers, we are the red skinned lovers of liberty as described by Father Labat of the Kalinagos, and what grace and beauty we are, and how inherently we love, despite our most stormy past as shown in paintings by Victor Patricio Landaluze. The Caribbean is not one thing, one race, one story—yet it is a story of humankind, love, lust, greed, and our unending desire for freedom.

— Fiona Compton


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