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Marianela Orozco, Isla (Island), 2006


For the spring tour of the Spinnerei galleries, HALLE 14 opens the exhibition »Overseas: Cuba and the Bahamas. Contemporary Art from the Caribbean« on April 29. Featuring photographs, paintings, installations and video works from 38 artists, the show offers a unique insight in the art scene of the two island states. The exhibition is co-curated by Holly Bynoe, curator of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, and by the in Havanna and Vancouver based independent curator and art critic Antonio Eligio (Tonel).


Title of the exhibition: Overseas: Cuba and the Bahamas. Contemporary Art from the Caribbean
Artists: Juan Carlos Alom, John Beadle, Ian Bethell-Bennett, Alejandro Campins, Iván Capote, Yoan Capote, Ariamna Contino & Alex Hernández, Blue Curry, Susana Pilar Delahante, Felipe Dulzaides, Ricardo G. Elías, Adrián Fernández, Adonis Flores, Kendra Frorup, Tamika Galanis, Orestes Hernández, Arnold Kemp, Dominique Knowles, Los Carpinteros, Anina Major, Jace McKinney, Jeffrey Meris, Kareem Mortimer, Angelique V. Nixon, Marianela Orozco, Holly Parotti, Lynn Parotti, Marta María Pérez Bravo, Khia Poitier, Manuel Piña, Carlos Quintana, Antonius Roberts, Heino Schmid, Steven Schmid, Dave Smith, Giovanna Swaby, Tessa Whitehead, Natalie Willis
Co-Curators: Holly Bynoe and Antonio Eligio (Tonel)

Duration: April 29 until August 6, 2017
Opening: Saturday, April 29, 2017, 3 pm
Press Preview: Thursday, April 27, 2017, 11 am

Opening hours: Tue-Sun, 11 am-6 pm
Entrance fee: 4 €, reduced 2 € (free on Wednesdays)
Location: HALLE 14 — Centre for Contemporary Art
Address: Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, Spinnereistr. 7, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Phone: 0049 341 / 492 42 02 Fax: 0049 341 / 4924729

Supported by:

and Collection Funcke as well as Collection Andreas Winkler


You can download the detailed press release as PDF here.


Isla (Island), 2006
Digital print
66,6 x 100 cm

Download the print file (JPG, 3,3 MB)


Profiles, 2014
Acrylic on canvas
92 x 122 cm

Download the print file (JPG, 3,3 MB)


Overseas: Cuba and the Bahamas: Contemporary Art from the Caribbean
Seen from the continental shore, islands are mythic and idyllic places of longing. Medieval historians conjectured that the Portuguese Christians who fled from the Moors ended up on »Antilia«, the Isle of Seven Cities. After Columbus’ discovery of the »New World«, the name Antilles was transferred to the archipelago off Central America. The West Indies or the Caribbean Islands are other names that carry with them expectations and a claim to dominance. These heterotopias often mingle with ideas of paradise. The genre of the Robinsonade, originated by Daniel Defoe, plays out in literature an island life far from the discontents of civilisation. Often these ideal worlds are overtaken by dystopias, as in Golding’s »Lord of the Flies« where the elite British students fall victim to hate, envy, murder and torture on an island paradise. The happily stranded often encounter savages, cannibals, mutineers, looters, or even monsters — either as neighbours or found deep within themselves. The name of the Caribbean comes from »Los caribes«, the word Spanish conquistadors used for cannibals or barbarians.

This Janus face of islands is also reflected in tourism. Palm trees, glistening beaches, turquoise seas, an ocean of old-timers, picturesquely flaking colonial facades, a carefree life — this is the stuff of holiday dreams and the main resource of the tourism industry, on which almost everything in the Caribbean depends. Of course, behind the scenes it looks different. For centuries, the Caribbean islands were chess pieces for competing European powers. The arrival of conquerors and explorers caused the almost total extermination of the indigenous inhabitants through massacres, famine, and smallpox. The islands became suppliers of sugar, coffee, cocoa, and cotton for a burgeoning European capitalism, and Africans were enslaved and transported to the islands as cheap labour. In the 20th century, tourism replaced the plantation economy.

Spurred by the disrespectful exploitation of Havana as an amusement park for American tourists, Mafiosi, and the omnipresent prostitution, the 26th of July Movement in Cuba led to the Cuban revolution, after a more than one-hundred-year struggle for independence. Meanwhile, Cuba has existed as a socialist state for almost 60 years, outliving the entire Communist Block. Surrounded by the sea and isolated from the rest of the world, Cubans enjoy a comparatively high standard of health and education within the Central American region. However, their island is solidified into a time capsule from the 1950s — a unique selling point today for consumption-overloaded, affluent tourists. Not least because of this, the world is currently witnessing a policy of slow opening to the world.

Stretching out from Florida across 700 islands (30 of which are inhabited), the Bahamas have had a contradictory history since Spanish conquest. The name originates from baja mar, meaning »shallow sea«. For a long time, pirates had their stronghold there. The privateer Woodes Rogers put an end to the stronghold on behalf of Great Britain, and so the Bahamas became a British Crown colony. In the following centuries, smuggling to the various American colonies became the preferred source of income, reaching its height during Prohibition in the United States. The archipelago’s path to complete independence from the United Kingdom in 1973 was relatively peaceful. Nevertheless, Queen Elizabeth II remains the head of state of this constitutional monarchy. Daily life is marked by poverty, crime and violence, as well as low educational and health standards. An end to colonial rule did not diminish this undeniable social inequality. Extreme social inequality did not cease with the end of colonial rule.

The Bahamas and Cuba share a common history of colonialism and slavery, and yet they are very different, not only in their traditions and form of government (socialism and capitalism), but also in ethnicity, language (Spanish, English and Creole), and religion (Christianity and West African Yoruba cultures). African, indigenous, and European roots have developed a kaleidoscope of hybrid cultures. Caribbean identities are fleeting and precarious. This exhibition shows what it means to create contemporary art in the context of complex and, at the same time, fragile identities in the isolation of the island, wrestling with colonial ghosts (inequality, racism, colonialism) and often in conflict with social reality. In collaboration with Bahamian curator Holly Bynoe, and by the in Havanna and Vancouver based independent curator and art critic Antonio Eligio (Tonel), HALLE 14 brings together, for the first time, artworks — including material collages, sculptures, paintings and installations — by established and emerging artists from both island states in one show.


Foto: Claus Bach

As a non-commercial art centre, HALLE 14 is a space for the presentation of, reflection on and communication about contemporary art. It has been operating since 2002 in a listed historic industrial building on the grounds of the Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei (Cotton Spinning Mill). With the conscious intent of highlighting the »luxury of emptiness«, an initiative of art enthusiasts created unique spaces in the generous halls of this late 19th century industrial building. A multi-functional visitor centre offers 600m² for learning, reading, and lingering. The 2,400 m² exhibition hall is available as a presentation space for international group shows of contemporary art. Courses, workshops, and school projects take place regularly in an expansive room for art education. Additionally there are 16 studios and seven workspaces for international and local artists. The dense artistic sociotope of the Spinnerei — with over a dozen galleries and project spaces, 130 artist studios, numerous other creative offices, a cinema, a café and more — combined with the countless off-spaces in the surrounding neighbourhood create an enriching environment.


Juliane Schickedanz (Public Relations)

Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei
Spinnereistr. 7
04179 Leipzig
fon +49 341 4924202
fax +49 341 4924729

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