For their new audio commissions, artist Ashley Holmes, and artist and writer Ayesha Hameed in conversation with poet and essayist Shivanee Ramlochan, consider the Caribbean’s deep cultural legacies of poetics and music. They journey through sound and spoken word, to explore the reverberations of personal, cultural and ancestral memory. The ocean and landscape as sites of violence are also demonstrated as a form of diasporic and queer possibility; building new subjectivities through language and sonic experiments – what Stuart Hall has described as survival strategies of Caribbean vernacular culture, ‘[...] the underground, subversive, rhythmic ‘rereading’ of an overground, dominant harmonics.’ (Hall, 2003).
Ashley Holmes, Pending, Still (Sync n Feeling Dub), 2021
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Ashley Holmes is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Sheffield interested in the collection, dissemination and presentation of music and sound. Holmes’ work traces the nuances, legacies and unique authority of music from Jamaica and its political, social and cultural contexts. His practice encompasses audio-visual installations, collaborations, radio broadcasts, performances and ongoing research projects that make connections between public space, sonic fiction, memory and citizenship. He hosts Tough Matter, a monthly broadcast on NTS Radio, and also facilitates Open Deck – a series of gatherings giving space to collectively listen and hold discursive space around relationships to music, sound and oral histories.
Ayesha Hameed: Radio Brown Atlantis with Shivanee Ramlochan
‘Witch Hindu’ by Shivanee Ramlochan: https://poets.org/poem/witch-hindu
'Chaiyya Chaiyya' from Dil Se: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKX5x3KZXfY&ab_channel=ShahadatAliThe 'Coolie Belles' of Caribbean postcards: https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/indo-caribbean-women-colonial-postcards/index.html
‘The Abortionist's Daughter Declares Her Love’ by Shivanee Ramlochan: http://caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/crb-archive/30-november-2013/the-abortionists-daughter-declares-her-love/
'Scorpion Gyal' by Sundar Popo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKCH9wSBLFw&ab_channel=CaribbeanVibez
‘Hanuman Chalisa’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AETFvQonfV8&ab_channel=T-SeriesBhaktiSagarExcerpt from ‘The Good Brown Girl’: https://www.wasafiri.org/article/the-good-brown-girl-by-shivanee-ramlochan/
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Ayesha Hameed explores the heritage of Black diasporas through the figure of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Her Afrofuturist approach combines performance, sound essays, videos, and lectures. Hameed examines the mnemonic power of these media – their capacity to transform the body into a body that remembers. The motifs of water, borders, and displacement are recurrent in her work, and offer a reflection on migration stories and materialities, and, more broadly, the relations between human beings and what they imagine as nature. Recent exhibitions include Liverpool Biennale (2021), Gothenburg Biennale (2019), Lubumbashi Biennale (2019), and Dakar Biennale (2018). She is co-editor of Futures and Fictions (Repeater 2017) and co-author of Visual Cultures as Time Travel (Sternberg/MIT 2021). She is currently Co-Programme Leader of the PhD in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University of London.
Shivanee Ramlochan is a Trinidadian poet and essayist. Her first book of poems, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press, 2017) was a finalist for the 2018 People's Choice T&T Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Shivanee was shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Prize for Poetry. ‘The Red Thread Cycle’, from her debut collection, won second place in the Small Axe Literary Competition Prize for Poetry, and was on audiovisual display at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas in 2019. She has received residencies from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Millay Arts, and Catapult Caribbean Arts Grant. She has served as a poetry reader and editorial judge for Commonwealth Writers, Honeysuckle Press, Moko Magazine, and others. Her second book, a nonfiction narrative on Indo-Caribbean women’s disobedience, is forthcoming from Noemi Press in 2022. Shivanee’s work can be found online at www.novelniche.net, www.shivaneeramlochan.com, @novelniche