The Grenada National Pavilion opened on 8 May and brought just a tiny pocket of warmth to the unseasonably cold and rainy Venice for the International Exhibition of the 58th Biennale di Venezia.
A press conference with close to 100 journalists, artists and organisers was initiated by StART, the group led by Daniele Radini Tedeschi. Speaking from the panel were the Minister of Culture of Guatemala José Luis Chea Urruela, Eduardo Selman of the Dominican Republic and Dr Susan Mains, representing Senator the Honourable Norland Cox, Minister of Culture of Grenada. The excitement of the moment was tangible, as each expressed the privilege and honour for their countries’ art to be shown at the beautiful Palazzo Albrizzi as official National Pavilions.
Grenada’s artists were on hand, maybe a little nervous, but well prepared for the moment of the opening of the doors and the showing of their collective work for the first time.
“Epic Memory” was the theme that they followed, and much of the work took a very personal turn.
Amy Cannestra said that, “Remembering is changing the thing you want to remember” and showed video clips of her time in Grenada, projected into dozens of little jars. The sound of the waves and tree frogs provided a background, and one quickly glimpsed the familiar sights of home.
Shervone Neckles chose to focus on her mother’s family, from Grenville. “Domiciliation, Bless this House” is made of vinyl constructions, screen printed with historic documents and family pictures. They sway a bit, causing an ever-changing view.
Dave Lewis honours his 100-year-old father with a photographic series entitled “My Father’s Land.” It is serene and shows the beauty of Grenada and his connection to it.
Billy Gerard Frank also highlights his relationship with his deceased father in the film “2nd Eulogy/Mind the Gap.” The installation he presents contains the actual suitcases (grips) that belonged to his father, as well as a trove of personal letters, postcards, and memorabilia.
Our Italian colleges presented paintings: Franco Rota Candiani, “Grenadine” and Robert Miniati, “God.” This painting was enhanced by a container of spices, whose fragrance permeated the room. The collective CRS avant-garde presented a beautifully detailed drawing by Paolo Rossetto — Harmonic Balance (Grenada). Further, Giovanni Scagnoli shared a painting construction named “Barefoot” which suspends reality. Finally, Carlo Caldara shows “Memory Ways” a sculpture of the globe, with lighted paths detailing the immigration of Grenada’s various peoples.
The pavilion is in beautiful harmony. Commissioner Susan Mains and curator Daniele Radini Tedeschi worked together for months to achieve this, overcoming the barrier of language with the translation of head of the editorial team Flavia Rovetta. For the next 7 months the Grenada Pavilion will be an outpost of promotion in Venice, Italy. It is anticipated that thousands will pass through.
All of this would not have been possible without the support of the sponsors. A special recognition is given to the Government of Grenada and the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), for financial support. Many private companies and individuals also contributed, many being made aware of the need through the efforts of Paula LaTouche of Century 21 Grenada. A complete list can be found at www.grenadavenice.org
Grenada Arts Council