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NOUS TOUJOU DUBOUT: We Stand Firm

Group show at Yaa Asantewa Arts Centre. 1987
Date: 24 January, 1987 until 30 January, 1987
Organiser: Yaa Asantewa Arts Centre

NOUS TOUJOU DUBOUT: We Stand Firm was an exhibition shown for one week towards the end of January 1987 at Yaa asantewa Arts Centre, London. it featured work by ten Dominica and Jamaica born artists - Paul Blackwood, Earl Etienne, Christian George, Eddy John, Glenford John, Tam JosephCourtney Morgan, Kelo Royer. Errol Walker and Ansell Walters. The exhibition came with a small catalogue, with 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 items

click to show details of NOUS TOUJOU DUBOUT: We Stand Firm catalogue

»  NOUS TOUJOU DUBOUT: We Stand Firm catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1987

People in this exhibition + view all 10

»  Paul Blackwood

Born, 1965 in Westmoreland, Jamaica

»  Earl Etienne

Born, 1957 in Dominica

»  Christian George

Born in Dominica, date unknown

»  Eddy John

Born in Dominica, date unknown

»  Glenford John

Born, 1958 - 1962 (probably 1960)

Exhibition venues

»  Yaa Asantewa Arts Centre

London, United Kingdom