Tellin We Own Story – Art from the Caribbean

Hands Up by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo

Hands Up by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo

At St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, through the end of the month, you’ll find a small but powerful, politically charged exhibit   PICTURE THIS – Visual and Verbal (Re)Imagining of the Contemporary Caribbean which explores the work of Caribbean creative writers who are also visual artists.

Next to the art works are poems and statements by the artists.  Perhaps the sparest of these is the most visceral:  Hands Up, a large canvas by Iyaba Ibo Mandigo painted entirely in black, with two white hands, whose red streams descend the canvas – the artist’s text reads:

Another Black Man

got killed by the cops today

… pass the ketchup

Next to this work are three of his brightly colored stylized semi-abstract, symbolic works, Grave Markers, each of which bears the inscription “black boys are dying”

detail from The Stroll, by Laura James 2005

detail from The Stroll, by Laura James 2005

You’ll also find Laura Jone’s four giglee prints of Caribbean domestic workers and nannies with their young charges; the bright colors and spare backgrounds are paired with statements by domestic workers from the Caribbean that illuminate the interior turmoil and isolation they feel under the surface veneer of “everything’s ok”

Opal Palmer Adisa has three pieces that are both photos and photoshopped, testifying to the indomitable spirit of the Haitians after the  2005 flood; the text on each of them speaks to life in Haiti, especially the role of women.

Jacqueline Bishop has created a series of 4 lovely, spare, line drawings in ink, made for a suite of Caribbean-themed poems based on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.

There are just some of the works on display, and if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by the Callahan Center at St. Francis College on Remsen Street.  Unfortunately, there’s no website, but for more information, you can contact the Caribbean Cultural Theatre who organized this show at

I’ll be posting more images on Instagram

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