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NOUS TOUJOU DUBOUT: We Stand Firm catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1987
Published by: Yaa Asantewa Arts Centre
Year published: 1987

image of NOUS TOUJOU DUBOUT: We Stand Firm catalogue

Small catalogue for NOUS TOUJOU DUBOUT: We Stand Firm, an exhibition shown for one week towards the end of January 1987 at Yaa Asantewa Arts Centre, London (24 - 30 January 1987). It featured work by ten Dominica and Jamaica born artists - Paul Blackwood, Earl Etienne, Christian George, Eddy John, Glenford John, Tam Joseph,  Courtney Morgan, Kelo Royer. Errol Walker and Ansell Walters. The exhibition came with a small catalogue, with a short uncredited Introduction, a text by Eddie Chambers, a brief statement about the Trafalgar Artisats Co-op Group of Kingston, Jamaica, and a final section of brief biographical outlines of the exhibiting artists, and a list of the works they each exhibited.  The cayalogue contained a number of monochrime reproductions of exhibited work. The introduction was as follows:

“We do not separate art and social concerns and adhere to the African tradition that art should be a living and dynamic reflection of the community spirit which is functional and serves the concrete needs of the people. Our challenge is to entertain, educate and advise through art, media and social activities that respond to the needs of our local communiity and the London-wide Black community. To this end, Yaa Asantewa Arts Centre is very pleased to be able to present this exhibition.

The object of this exhibition is to draw atttention to the fact that these artists have produced work of great insight and individuality and to a very high standard. We hope that the work exhibited will demonstrate the commitment these artists have to the political/social/cultural concerns of the communities they are involved in.

It is hoped that this exhibition will help to secure a wider recognition for the artists involved plus to promote and stimulate the growth of interest in work by Afro-Caribbean visual artists.”

Text by Eddie Chambers, extracts as follows:

…However, half an hour spent in conversation with Dominican artist Kelo Royer, convinced me that this exhibition of work by himself and five fellow Dominican artists, was a fine and worthy example of Pan-Africanism in action. Here we have one Dominican artist on a working visit to England (who feels duty bound to bring with him work by four other Dominican artists), exhibiting alongside Tam Joseph, a Dominican who who settled in Britain some 31 years ago. It is this coming together, this mutual support, that exemplifies Pan-Africanism. What is important here is the fact that these artists relate to each other. Not only on their own initiative, but also on their own terms. Black artists who participate in ‘selected’ survey-type shows could never relate to each other the way that these Dominican artists do. In Britain, our artists have grown accustomed to being passive respondents to white initiatives, who only really come together at ‘Private Views’ and other bourgeois functions. The coming together of these Dominican artists on the other hand, is a political necessity, born out of the legacy of collective political and economic struggles of Caribbean Africans. These six artists relate to each other because they have to. They realise that in the harsh economic and social climate of working-class Dominica, to work in isolation is to deny one’s heritage and to turn one’s back on progress.

            The fact that Kelo Royer has flown from Dominica entirely at his own expense is not insignificant. This exhibition is definitely not the initiative of some middle-class white art administrator who, having received a directive stating that 1986 had been designated ‘Caribbean Focus Year’, then goes on to mount a slapdash exhibition which clearly betrays the fact that s/he not only barely knows where the Caribbean is, but is totally ignorant of the politics of the region. As a self-financed artist, Kelo Royer’s stability and pragmatism is a fitting tribute to the Caribbean legacy of resistance and rebellion. And by ‘Caribbean’ I’m not referring to the imperialist lackeys who pass themselves off as leaders. I’m referring to the ordinary people of the region. Those who have no choice but to struggle…

             …A cursory, yet less blinkered look at the Caribbean clearly shows that the region is a melting pot of an infinite number of contradictory and diverse elements. In turn, a random selection of these elements reveals the Caribbean to be Toussaint L’Ouverture, Maurice Bishop and Edward Seaga. The Caribbean is Cuba, communism in action, the Bay of Pigs, the CIA. The Caribbean is Paul Bogle, Chris Blackwell, and George Padmore. The Caribbean is Kwame Toure, American tourists, and American marines. It’s ganga, bauxite and bananas. It’s St James, St Anne’s, St Catherine. It’s the most brutal forms of slavery that we as Africans have endured and survived. It’s tribal Africa, the Middle Passage, and 1950s immigration into Britain. It’s Mighty Sparrow, Eugenia Charles and Marcus Garvey. The Caribbean is also Brixton, April 1981. It’s Steel Pulse, Fidel Castro, and revolutionary upheaval that rocked Trinidad in 1919. And so on and so on.

Related people + view all 11

»  Glenford John

Born, 1958 - 1962 (probably 1960)

»  Tam Joseph

Born, 1947 in Dominica

»  Courtney Morgan

Born in Westmoreland, Jamaica, date unknown

»  Kelo Royer

Born, 1953 in Roseau, Dominica

»  Errol Walker

Born in Jamaica, date unknown

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Yaa Asantewa Arts Centre

London, United Kingdom