After months and even years of planning, it is go time for the Grenada National Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia in Venice Italy.
The many zoom meetings of the Cypher Art Collective of Grenada distilling ideas and plans have resulted in a finely tuned presentation. Shakespeare Mas of Carriacou has taken centre stage in paintings, video, installations, sculpture and even an authentic Shakespeare Mas costume.
Some of the work has been shipped to Venice by air freight, and some will travel with the artists in their bags. Bringing the art together in a faraway land is a complicated process with many facets. There is a steep learning curve for the organisers every time. Then the artists have to fly to Venice with a bit of trepidation during this time when we are still in the pandemic, and when there is a war in Europe. Like a Shakespearean would utter, “brave!”
Next is the physical set-up of the pavilion, in a city with no transportation save waterways. A lot of walking is necessary, and some “drougeing” of the art. The jury will pass on the 20th, along their route to judge the 80 other National Pavilions and some 200 invited artists. Then on 22 April, the Grenada Pavilion will open its doors to the world. More than 600,000 art-loving visitors will view, investigate, and appreciate our art. Many will be exposed to Grenada the island in the Caribbean for the first time.
The Commissioner appointed is Dr Susan Mains BEM, and the Curator for the 2022 edition is Dr Daniele Radini Tedeschi. Together with the Ministry of Culture they have since March of 2021 selected the following Grenada Artists to present their work in the pavilion in Venice.
Dr Oliver Benoit, Billy Gerrard Frank, Ian Friday, Asher Mains, Dr Susan Mains, Angus Martin, and Samuel Ogilvie. All of these are working as volunteers, and pay for their own production of the art. Aside from these, many local artisans worked behind the scenes. This is Grenada’s 5th appearance at La Biennale, cementing leadership for the Caribbean with more consecutive appearances than any other island except for Cuba.
It is a testimony to the commitment of the artists to push forward, with growing support from the Ministry of Culture, the corporate and private sector. It is a recognition that showing Grenada in this light exposes an authentic culture that treasures its own stories.
Support has been forthcoming from StART, an Italian arts events and publishing company, from the Grenada National Lottery Authority, the Grenada Tourism Authority as well as private donors.
The Grenada Pavilion can be followed online at grenadavenice.org, and on Instagram at grenadapavilionvenice. The exhibition will be open from 22 April through 29 November 2022, with free entrance.