Kingston-based curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson has been selected for this year’s Tilting Axis curatorial fellowship.
Smythe-Johnson is a writer and independent curator, who has written for ARC magazine, Miami Rail, Flash Art, Jamaica Journal and a number of other local and international publications. She is currently Assistant Curator on an upcoming exhibition of the work of Jamaican painter John Dunkley at the Perez Art Museum in Miami. She is also working on an Institute of Jamaica publication looking at Jamaica’s National Collection.
The curatorial fellowship is a direct outcome of the Tilting Axis meetings in 2015 at Fresh Milk in Barbados and in 2016 at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Scotland based cultural partners CCA Glasgow, David Dale Gallery, Hospitalfield and curatorial collective Mother Tongue produced a structural long-term fellowship for an emerging contemporary art practitioner living and working in the Caribbean.
This new fellowship opportunity focusses on the development of pragmatic and critical curatorial development hailing from the Caribbean region, and is research and practice-led, and mentor-based. Designed as a year-long programme between the Caribbean region and Scotland, it offers support for critical development of curatorial practice and gives a practical base in the partner institutions with visits to Scotland and throughout the Caribbean.
During the fellowship, Smythe-Johnson will travel to Scotland in November, and will also undertake research visits to Suriname, Barbados, Cuba and Grenada.
Smythe-Johnson said: “I am very excited about the fellowship. I attended the Tilting Axis conference this year in Miami and really savoured the opportunity to meet other arts professionals and hear about other institutions in the Caribbean region. I love my island, but island life can be isolating and there is a real temptation toward the insular. This fellowship then, is the perfect opportunity to build on the connections I made at TA 2016, and get some answers to the questions that came out of that experience. I can't wait to jump in with both feet, starting with Glasgow.”
David Codling, Director of Arts for the Americas, British Council said: “In so many ways which are often overlooked, the Caribbean is the epicentre of the Americas: for better or worse Europe’s involvement with what it called the “New World” began in the Caribbean and for many European countries, including the four nations of the UK, our relationship with the Caribbean is deep, intense and complex. The British Council is proud to support and to be associated with the Tilting Axis Curatorial Fellowship which offers an opportunity to explore and understand that relationship and to promote new conversations.”
Holly Bynoe, co-founder, Tilting Axis said: “In keeping with the notion of tilting the axis which refers to the re-focusing of our gaze and harnessing our collective power to make the visual arts sector more sustainable in ways that resonate with our lived realities in the Caribbean, the introduction of the Tilting Axis Curatorial Fellowship is one example of how this might happen. Tilting Axis 2: Caribbean Strategies made significant strides in its aims to fortify networks and extend the reach of the arts throughout the Caribbean, with its partners in the Global North. I am delighted that the inaugural fellow is Nicole Smythe-Johnson and eagerly anticipate what will come of her research across the Dutch, Spanish, and Anglophone Caribbean, concluding in what I am sure will be a rich and stimulating experience in Scotland.”
The fellowship is in partnership with CCA Glasgow, David Dale Gallery and Studios, Hospitalfield, Mother Tongue and Tilting Axis. Supported by British Council Scotland.