An exhibition exploring the Myths, Beliefs, Religions and Imagination in the Caribbean is on show in Martinique's Regional Council building in Fort de France this month. Organized by the Director of Culture Reneé-Paul Yung-Hing , the multi-media display brings together contemporary work from the English, French and Spanish speaking islands including Cuba's Manuel Mendive, Martnique's Patricia Donatien-Yssa, Haiti's Eduard Duval Carrié, Trinidad's Leroy Clarke, Barbados' Ras Akyem and Ras Ishi and Jamaica's Albert Chong. Creating any exhibition that crosses language barriers and geographical boundaries is a major task especially when its works and artists are forced to navigate airline hubs such as Miami and San Juan, but the shows language of myth and spirituality is a forceful one that speaks more to the region's spiritual commonalities rather than its differences.
The human form features prominently in the art on show. The ritualized body whether stripped naked in Ras Akyem's drawings, bio-morphised in the paintings of Mendive, or costumed with bric-a-brac in the assemblages of Duval Carrie (shown here), demonstrates how as a result of slavery, the region's dispossessed peoples harnessed their inner resources to create intimate sites of worship that could speak to other worlds and realities. Whether inspired by Vodou, Revival, Rastafari or Santaria, the art works in Myths, Beliefs, Religions and Imagination in the Caribbean show how the enshrined body becomes the altar where our people display inner wealth and offerings, to praise and appease their gods.