Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox is an exhibition that looks at the legacy of European colonialism in the Caribbean through the work of 10 contemporary artists. The exhibition takes a material approach to the haunted history of the region; it aims to reconnect the quintessential Caribbean exports mentioned in its title to the plantation economy that originally produced them through the labor of enslaved Africans for over 300 years. Although the region’s economy has altered and its exports diversified, the impact of centuries of colonial rule is still felt by the hundreds of millions of people who are descended from those who directly suffered under it. The exhibition aligns with the museum’s mission, to inspire challenging conversations about contemporary issues through the lens of the African diaspora. By calling out the presence of the colonial past in contemporary Caribbean life, the exhibition works against the erasure of history and inscribes the visions of artists as bulwarks against forgetting and as harbingers of a more grounded and humane future.
“Our grantees range from small arts organizations with one staff member to major museums, yet they all provide essential resources for artists as well as innovative platforms for critical cultural dialogue. Creative risk-taking is at the heart of this country’s most meaningful social, political, and cultural developments, therefore we are proud to stand behind artist-centered organizations that support experimental practice.”
Joel Wachs, President