In its 41st year of independence, Grenada will take a great leap forward and be seen for the first time on the largest and oldest world stage, la Biennale di Venezia. Through the co-operation of Ministry of Culture, Grenada has been invited to present a National Pavillion, joining the ranks of the 89 countries who have been invited to the 56th edition of this most prestigious event.
La Biennale di Venezia dates to 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. It is one of the most important international biennials and cultural institutions in the world, introducing hundreds of thousands of visitors to exciting new art every two years. The 56th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (9 May to 22 November 2015) is directed by Okwui Enwezor, a curator, art critic, and writer, and the Director of the Haus der Kunst, Munich.
The venue for Grenada’s exhibition will be the Sala Tiziano, Opera don Orione Artigianelli, Dorsoduro, Fondamenta delle Zattere ai Gesuati 919, a beautiful historic building close to the Zattare water taxi stop.
Susan Mains is the curator for this exhibition, along with her Italian counterpart, Francesco Elisei. The title of the exhibition “Present Nearness” portray the group of artists interpretations of their own interaction with the disordered world, one of the filters spoken of by Okwui Enwezor.
A group of artists have been chosen to represent Grenada and they have aligned their thoughts in making the art to the theme of la biennale, “All the World’s Futures”.
Emphasizing “The Disordered World”, Maria McClafferty creates a glass and steel structure in which she explores feminine suffering. This will stand in the cloister of the Sala Tiziano, letting the sun’s rays shine through the soft colors of the translucent glass, contrasted against the hard steel of the scaffold. Maria is well experienced in stained glass, having created beautiful installations all over Europe, and the world.
Oliver Benoit paints abstractly, adding and subtracting layers of paint that mirror his sociological research. He poses that the systems of governance in the world have created a repetitive break down, with the disenfranchised often expressing their frustration in violence. Benoit has exhibited regionally and internationally.
Asher Mains continues his Cocoa Farmers Portrait project in paintings and video. He proposes a model that inverts the classic art consumption model, and puts the collection of “heritage” in to the hands of those who live it. Very large mixed media paintings portray an intimate gaze. Mains is an MFA candidate with Transart Institute.
Susan Mains installs in the cloister of the Sala Tiziano homage to those in Nigeria who have fallen victims to the recent violence. She arranges on the ground clothing and objects of daily use, and places flowers and candles, as practice is seen in the media. She contrasts the world’s riveted attention to recent terrorists events in Paris and the seeming apathy to Africa. These items will be exposed to the weather the entire seven months of the exhibition, the decay speaking to memory, and how quickly we dismiss the horror of others. Social justice issues have dominated Mains’ international exhibitions in video, painting, and installations.
The pavilion incorporates three international artists, recognizing that art is transnational, and has no political or geographical boundaries.
The art of the narrative has for years been the painting practise of Carmine Ciccarini; urban scenarios with their human component, connected to each other within time and space.
Guiseppe Linardi paints deliberately on the border between abstraction and figuration.His series, “decodificazion” creates a feeling of “push-pull’, that at once intrigues and repels.
Francesco Bosso proposes, through photography, a world intangible yet contingent upon human beings. His dream-like scenarios are real, theatrical in aesthetic, choosing the best of nature to reveal to humans that all is not lost.
The participation of Grenada would not have been possible without the corporate sponsorship afforded by Arteeventi, Officina delle Zattere, Zerotecnica, C&C, Danny Fahkre, Peter de Savary of Cinnamon Hill Resort and Savvy Grenada, The Grenada Arts Council, Mrs. Victoria Slinger, Insurance Consultants Grenada, Ltd., Act-Art and Design, Art and Soul Gallery, and Bernardo Bertucci of LaLuna Resort and Villas.
Grenada may be among the smallest of countries to participate in la Biennale di Venezia, but the passion of its artist brings a large presence.