Hot Links 03: Shanice Smith
The third ‘hot links’ features Shanice Smith, our inaugural and incoming artist resident at Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn.
– What is your project or role with the Caribbean Art Initiative?
To further explore themes and build on research I started while in residence at Vermont Studio Centre in May of this year. This includes, but is not limited to, the effects of (unresolved) trauma and epigenetics in relation to Caribbean families, and how it impacts our cultural identity.
– What does “cultural exchange” mean to you?
Cultural exchange is the barter of knowledge on varying components that encompass a specific culture. This can be done through sharing food (since food is one of the main focal points of many cultural exchanges), music, clothing, or even vernacular, but it must be reciprocated on the same level in order for it to be a respectful exchange. This is something I spent a lot of time doing recently, at Vermont Studio Center, with my peers through the use of food and snacks from Trinidad and Tobago and even by sharing our dialect.
– What is one unique perspective or element about the Caribbean that you would like the global community to know better?
I’d really love for more people from the global community to research the Caribbean, particularly our geographical location/s. I think there is a lack of understanding that each island is completely different (though some of us might possess similarities with regards to historical context). We are not all a district in Jamaica. This is a pet peeve for many of us from the Caribbean — persons external to the region often think that we’re all Jamaicans or, worse yet, try to speak to us with a fake Jamaican accent. This ties in with the idea of respectful cultural exchange as opposed to stereotyping; it is important for others not to generalise the Caribbean, but to engage with it as a diverse region with distinct cultures, languages and just overall identities.
– And finally, describe something that is “hot” to you.
Something that is ‘hot’ to me is, a good, good Trinidadian curry — buss up shut/paratha roti to be exact. Everyone should experience a good Trini curry at least once in their lives. It’s one of my favourite comfort foods). Trinidadian food is often savoury and very flavourful.