‘BODIES OF MEMORY’, an interactive installation by dance artist and filmmaker Sonja Dumas, which navigates feelings about the Middle Passage, its effect on the body and its impact on the history of movement culture in Trinidad -and-Tobago, is currently open to the public at the Medulla Art Gallery, Port of Spain, until April 30.
The work is part of the artist’s research for her doctorate in cultural studies at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine. According to Dumas: “This installation is an investigation of my current research into bodies of water that have fueled the very evolution of race, status and what it means to be Caribbean.
“I want to consider their influences on how we move, and why.”
The immersive installation is Dumas’ first solo exhibition. ‘It was quite intimidating. I had to think about the space in a different way than how I approach it as a dancer or choreographer, but still offer that sense of ebb and flow – of both the artwork and the story.
Many people have suffered in the Middle Passage, but there is a retention and resilience of body, mind, and spirit that has carried on from generation to generation, and that is what interests me. .
What was adopted and retained, and why? How do we represent and hold this history in our bodies today?
The exhibition is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free entry.
There will also be a free artist talk on Friday at 7pm at the gallery, 37 Fitt Street, Woodbrook. Dumas will be interviewed by leading Caribbean cultural analyst and development specialist, Dr. Marielle Barrow, who will be online in the live space.