Guyanese Artists Explore Tensions in Immigration Patterns
Migration is perhaps the defining movement of our time? for both the ones who leave and the ones who are left. Liminal Space brings together artists of Guyanese heritage, who via photography, painting, sculpture, installation, video, textile and mixed-media, bear witness to what drives one from their homeland as well as what keeps one psychically tethered to it. "Liminal" from the Latin word limens means "threshold" a place of transition, waiting, and unknowing. In tandem, the artworks in Liminal Space engage hard truths of a country defined by constant departure and deemed "a disappearing nation." Yet, the works offer restorative narratives of why this homeland is loved. Etched out in the artists' visual narratives are tensions conjured up when one floats in liminal space--the land lived in and the land left behind.
Today, Guyana has a population of 750,000 and over one million living in its diaspora--in other words, more of its citizens reside outside of its borders. After gaining independence from the British in 1966, the young nation would see the beginnings of an exodus of its citizens migrating to the United States as they sought reprieve from political conflict, racially-divisive violence, and poverty. New York City, where Guyanese immigrants are the 5th largest foreign-born population, is affectionately known as "Little Guyana" home to the most significant Guyanese community in the diaspora. Most of the Guyanese-American artists featured in the exhibition live and work in the Tri-State Area, a reflection of the region?s prominent Guyanese community.
Liminal Space speaks to the broader emergence of the Caribbean diaspora in global metropolises. While these artists narrate experiences specific to the Guyanese diaspora, they simultaneously unpack the act of migration as a constant site of engagement and what it means to be an immigrant in our 21st century world.