Un|Fixed Homeland, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, 2016 Catalog: Un|Fixed Homeland - Page 28

artists of Guyanese heritage remains relatively under the radar. For women, this is even more acute. Consequently, an important agenda underlining Un | Fixed Homeland was to feature an equal representation of work by women. Six of the thirteen artists in the exhibition are women at various stages in their artistic practice. For Khadija Benn, one of the few women photographers living and working in Guyana, Un | Fixed Homeland is her first exhibition. In tandem with Aljira’s mission as a contemporary art center that aims to provide a platform for emerging and under-represented artists, Benn’s stunning digital photographic landscape work, Amalivaca (2012) was chosen as the lead image for the exhibition and for its publicity materials. This selection, to feature a young woman who is also an artist exhibiting for the first time, speaks to the show’s priorities of inclusivity and representation. It has also marked an important shift in Benn’s professional practice. Unfortunately, what the global public often sees of the visual culture of Guyana still centers on the exotic, tropical, colonial, and touristic. The artists in Un | Fixed Homeland are part of a contemporary movement to counter this historic malpractice by challenging, disrupting, manipulating, and even exploiting the ‘picturing paradise’ motif often associated with the region. Reinforced throughout the work presented in Un | Fixed Homeland and via the artists’ personal narratives fueling their art-making is a framing of the Guyanese experience of migration and homeland as symbolic of larger pressing universal concerns capturing daily headlines and weighing on our hearts and minds. 1 The history of increased migration from Guyana to North America and Europe is due to unstable economic conditions, which continue to prevail—43% of the population in Guyana currently lives below the poverty line. Source: Manuel Orozco, “Remitting Back Home and Supporting the Homeland: The Guyanese Community in the U.S.,” Inter-American Dialogue Working Paper commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development GEO Project, January 15, 2003. http://www.w.thedialogue. org/PublicationFiles/Remitting back home and supporting the homeland.pdf GRACE ANEIZA ALI is an independent curator; faculty member in the Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University; and Founder/Editorial Director of OF D^( Fv&BvrƖRvR'BB7Ff6W"W762Fw&fR&VVV&Ɨ6VB'f&N( 2G&6FvRVWfWW&6RW&rFW'2#B6P&V6VfVBGv&fVFFf"FRf7V'G27W&F&fVw6vƖvG2bW"7W&F&v&6VFRwVW7B7W&F f"FR#BFF2&&fFfW7CwVW7B7W&F"bFRf#0VWfWFw&2W&òB7BbFRf7Vǒ7VrFW&Ɨ6ЧV&Ɩ2&w&BFRWr&V&Ɩ2Ɩ'&'( 266'W&r6VFW"ƒ2v&@V6֖2f'V( v&6W.( BgV'&vB66"6RG2g&67GVFW2g&Wr&VfW'6GB"VvƗ6ƗFW&GW&Rg&FRVfW'6G`'B6VvR&ƒv2&&wWBƗfW2Wr&6Gࠣ##