Antithesis/Synthesis: Fine Arts and Cultural Heritage

Caribbean InTransit, Issue 5, Call for papers

Deadline: 15 April 2013

Information below obtained from Caribbean inTransit announcement. For more information about the issue, about the journal, and/or about submissions, click here.


Guest Editors: James Early, Diana N’diaye and Dominique Brebion

Are expressions of “fine art” and “cultural heritage” mutually exclusive, beneficial and/or interchangeable? There are a plethora of terms that seek to distinguish arts connected to “heritage” including such performance based genres as carnival regalia, genre paintings such as those created by Amos Ferguson and utilitarian arts such as basketmaking or fashion, from the arts taught historically in the academy- painting or sculpture.

The K2K alliance in Trinidad and Tobago, which combines carnival costume design with high fashion, and the exhibition of Junkanoo costumes in the Bahamas National Art Gallery space, are recent initiatives that urge further thought on these interactions between the fine art and cultural heritage. K2K and National Art Gallery of the Bahamas demonstrate that through contemporary art practice these categories are being subverted, blended, and may not even be sensibly employed. These concerns are poignant for artists practicing within the Caribbean and in the Diasporas. What does this mean for Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora artists accessing “heritage”? This fifth issue of Caribbean InTransit takes up the intersections between forms of the fine arts, including visual and performing arts, and cultural heritage.

According to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) definition, cultural heritage is “an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage “(ICOMOS, 2002). Such broad definition encompasses value systems, traditions, lifestyles and beliefs, while constructions such as monuments, architectural works, sculpture and painting may also be registered as cultural heritage sites by UNESCO (1972 Article 1). These vague understandings blur the borders between neat categorizations of the fine arts and cultural heritage and lead to a host of questions and concerns that we seek to address in this issue.

How do artists and artisans amalgamate the categories of fine arts and cultural heritage and what is gained or lost by so doing? What might these mergers say about global postmodernism, our historical moment in the Caribbean, or a regional Caribbean aesthetics? Such concerns may also raise questions about the ways art is defined, catalogued, presented and practiced in the Caribbean. How does the region mediate Afro, Indo, Euro, Amerindian and other conceptualizations of art? And what is the role that artists, cultural workers, cultural organizations and cultural policy may play in transforming how the arts and culture are considered, characterized and taught in the Caribbean?

For this issue, we seek artistic works, collaborative practice, essays, music, dance and dialogues that address the above mentioned considerations. Work that reconnects shared heritage(s), attempts re-constructive dialogue(s) and probes the invisible and anonymous past(s) of post-colonial realities that determine how we practice art(s) and culture(s) are welcome. Suggested themes include but are not limited to:

  • Arts and Cultural Heritage Policy
  • Practices of Arts Institutions in the Caribbean
  • Dialogues with the Colonizer/Colonized
  • Invisibility/Anonymity
  • Reclamation, Re-adoption and/or Repatriation
  • Private and Public Goods
  • Inheritance
  • Archaeological Heritage
  • National, Regional and International Agencies (including UNESCO, CERLAC)
  • Diasporic Heritage
  • Art History/Conservationist approaches to Heritage
  • Cyber-Heritage
  • The Heritage of Consumption
  • Cultural Heritage and Urban Space
  • Living Digital Archives
  • Exhibitions of Oral Histories
  • Transnational Artistic Practice
  • Interrogating categorizations: fine arts, folk arts, “heritage arts” craft, and tradition

We welcome 4000-5000 word essays, in English, Spanish or French. Artwork, music, dance, poetry, mas or junkanoo designs or any other artistic expression with blurbs in English, French, Spanish, Dutch, dialect or creole are welcome as well as films in any language with subtitles in English. Fiction or non-fiction writings in English or dialects will be accepted. Writings in dialect should be accompanied by a translation of terms. Research papers on visual or vocal modes of expression as well as interviews of contemporary artists in English are also welcome.

Submit your work via the Submissions tab on our website.
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