The opening reception was held at the SCAD Museum of Art scad.edu/museum
On a balmy evening, 400 delegates from 23 different countries gathered on the podium between the oldest surviving antebellum railroad depot in the US and the modern building of the art museum.
After a time of nibbling delicious southern canapes, sipping cool drinks, listening to the band, talking with old and new friends, and paying attention during the speeches of welcome and thanks, we moved into the exhibition spaces.
Ebony G. Patterson, 'of 72 project,' digital prints on embellished bandanas, 2012
'What happens when 72 die and no one knows who they are?
Who were these men and this woman?
Ebony wanted to make people aware of a 2010 massacre of 72 men (and 1 woman) at the Tivoli gardens in Jamaica. It is an event that has received very little attention from the media, has been ignored by Jamacia's usually vocal music scene and has had little acknowledgement governement. By making a mixed media portrait of every victim and hanging them all together on a clothesline the sheer number has great impact and the viewer is forced to realise these silenced people do matter.
Subodh Gupta, 'Known Stranger,' mixed media, 2014
This fabulous installation is an endlessly fascinating collection of well-used cooking pots and containers. The setting sun reaching through blinds to spot illuminate the work only added to its curiosity. People just walked around and around looking up and smiling.
This was just one of many exhibitions available for delegates to enjoy throughout the week. There was a well-organised gallery-hop one evening.
The daytime hours were mostly spent listening to the presentation of research papers on the theme "Crosscurrents: Land, Labor and the Port."
3 or 4 papers were presented in each session X 5 concurrent sessions at any one time X 8 periods of concurrent sessions over 3 days = 140 papers presented. Phew, no wonder my head felt full towards the last day. The last day was spent attending roundtable discussions, films, videos, a merchants market. poster session, a closing plenary session and finally an awards banquet dinner. Those who still wanted more could join the post-symposium workshops and tours.
All in all an amazing event.
The next symposium will be in Vancouver in 2018. I can hardly wait.