By christinaillenapeake, Mar 10 2019 12:03PM

'Black is black' right?! My mum used to say that 'if your not White your Black!' This was said in an effort to protect us from what was to come. She said there was never any issues with race in our house until I came home one day and ask her if I was half made, as the kids at school kept calling me half cast? I remember staring at these kids as I was so confused as I hadn't heard it before and didn't know what it meant but by the scrunched up face of the kid screaming it at me, I knew that meant that it wasn't a nice thing to say.

That was the start of seeing that face many times as I grew up but that also meant that I held on to my Caribbean and English heritage even tighter as I was proud of be both. I was proud of my hybridity and still am. However, over the years I have found the black/white binary that many discussions surrounding black identity invoke particularly in American cultural discussion to require a rejection of that 'White' in my dual heritagee. I will always be proud of the Whiteness that is half of me and that comes from my father. He was an amazing man that loved and cared for his family and provided for us every day that he was walked this world until 1st February 2013.

Lately I have particularly felt the nuances in discussions surrounding black identity both in the essentialist rhetoric that seems to gloss over the dense hybridity of the diaspora in an effort to claim a racial solidarity, plus the same approach distances the inter racial contentions that I remember as a child. In the 80s and 90s when I was at school, I remember there was clashes between kids from the African continent, particularly from Somalia that came over as refugees and Afro Caribbean kids. I cannot imagine what a lot of those kids had seen and the fear of the conflict they were escaping and this clashed with kids that were 1st and 2nd generation descendents from Afro Caribbean immigrants and both looked at each other with suspicion and the insults reflected that.

When I saw Black Panther I remember thinking whose fantasy is this? Is this a fantasy from the African American imagination or from the heterogeneity of African cultural identities from that continent that this saga is born. It wasn't the best film I had ever seen but it is rare to see a mainstream film where you have a predominantly black cast. I guess a better description would be a non-white cast as I remember that you have film relaeased 'Roma 'set in Mexico that I have to see that looks astonishing.

I was listening to the Ameriacan based 'Breakfast Club' podcast that has like 2 to 3 milkiamvies an episode and during the interview with Childish Gambino I think, Charlemagne tha God asked about all black people going back to Africa where Gambino responded that Africa wasn't looking for the African American community to 'return home'. I have heard this before and that there are specific names even that they give to African Americans in some countries as they view them as stranger and its even stranger to them why they would identify to that extent with their home. When I was working with an NGO in Sierra Leone I was referred to as white and that made my head ring but I guess this was because I sounded 'white' as in British and lived in a 'white' country and that surpassed the colour of my skin. I was also called to what my ears sounded like 'yalla', that apparently referred to a nomadic tribe who women had quite fine features, possibly Northern African, but again this was to identify me as distinct from the Sierra Leonine characterisation of 'black'.

It's amazing how many identities one can assume as you travel as different cultures categorise you in different ways. I remember thinking that I still thought it was strange that such a sentiment would be raised today of returning to the 'homeland' but the African American experience is different to mine and I cannot imagine what it must be like to fear for yourself or your family being shot by police when out on the road or any of the many injustices that are constantly referenced. I wonder when migrated across the ocean how authentic the US narrative I receive in the UK actually is?

I swear as I get older I find myself to be increasingly naïve and I am resolved to keep listening to as many different view points and cultural representations that I can, to try and understand these narratives better, not just that of the black diaspora.

There is so much anger and conflict in the air and I feel like I am just trying to breathe in a little tolerance to gain some distance into WTF is happening! So many arguments seem to be so short sighted as the challenges that are coming with climate change and the legion of ecological issues coming back at us may or should negate many of these arguments, as ideally you like to think people will come together to try and ensure the collective survival, but I guess what really terrifies me is that the said conflicts will gain even deeper footing as each culture fights to save itself at the expense of others. I mean isn't that what we are already doing? I have no idea how to move forward. It overwhelming the challenges ahead of us. And this is what happens when you go deep at the pub on a Friday night with your peeps. You scare the crap out of each other but ultimately resolve to resolve find a way.

By christinaillenapeake, Feb 25 2019 05:33PM

This January I headed back to Barbados to see family. Always beautiful but this time I really pushed myself when it came to the open water. I love the sea but it also terrifies me. Traveling to Barbados since childhood meant that we were in the sea from baby age and that means there is always that time when you had that bloody scary moment.

I remember once being in the sea with my brother and a freak wave came and crashed over us. I had to try and keep him above water as he couldn't have been older than three or four years old. I was so scared as I was rolled over the sea bed but terrified of losing my brother so kept him above the water, which kept my mind off not being able to breath. Eventually we were washed on the beach although battle couldn't have lasted more than a few seconds but still it never left me.

Surfing was off the table after a few times of being rolled like that and smacked around by the board. Scuba diving I learnt but never enjoyed as I felt suffocated and claustrophobic. But as the years fled by I have fell in love with the sea, reef and just everything underneath but you have to go deeper to see the bigger things and that is terrifying. My dream or goal is to see Great White sharks in the open ocean, preferably from the view of a cage.

Most recently I have fell in love with paddle boarding and from a board is where I was able to film the videos of the reef on the YouTube account. I was so far out and would have to paddle into shore and then the tide and wind would take me out to sea again. I couldn't jump off the board there and snorkel. 40 or 50 feet is too much for me to look down on if I am on my own in the ocean. There would have to be a shit ton of people to be there with me.

I am so proud of these videos and pictures and each time I do it I fall in love with the act just a little more and I get better and more daring. That's amazing and I nuture that because if I nuture it there, then I can nuture it in other parts of my life and for what I plan for my future that daring is critical!

By christinaillenapeake, Nov 18 2018 08:44AM

I was so nervous about giving this talk. Sharing the initimacy of my practice meaning the intimacies of my experiences and vulerabilities. This talk specifically was about an idea that I first discussed at the Laydeez Do Comics festival earlier in the year at a review session with Wallis Eates. She was amazing and most importantly encouraging that the idea I had presenteed for the 'Deep Deep Light Blue' of 'DDLB' actually had some weight to it. Because it has to have weight otherwise it doesn't merit the amount of hours when you could be sleeping, chilling or spending time with the family. And she confirmed what I suspected that it did.

In the presentation I outlined my idea and the projects that have come to inform this fiction in my head and I think it well. I recorded the session. As I recorded every practice of the presentation that came before. I am going to put it on the website but you know what the strangest thing was from practicing and feeling like this was the stupidest thing to do as I was unable to articulate myself, to now wanting triple the time of 20 minutesto do it all again but this time go deeper. Deeper into everything. Fieldwork as critical part of practice, observation, the politics and terms of engagement, artist as commuicator, art and ecology and/or creative ecology, research, intervention,commitment and the evolution of practice. Everything. I want to talk about everything that has been in my head and I am stating to wonder if maybe people might beinterested as they seemed to be that night.

I had an idea to start a series of podcasts talking with different people and basically what I did for the presentation and like DDLB I think their is weight in it. The 'Cahj & Collected' series, casual ideas intelligently articulated and interrogated. Maybe there's alot of weight in that?!

By christinaillenapeake, Oct 22 2018 06:12PM

I have been attending the free crit sessions provided by Turf Projects when I can the last few months. Whenever I do attend the level of professionalism and the quality of the work shown just makes me want to smile. It takes balls to present your work and more balls to hear the critiscism. I hate attending crits but I love to hear how artists' think and what they are thinking about. Its work in progress most of the time and its rare to see that private time. I value seeing that private time and aspiration for the final work.

There is usually a workshop to follow and these cover every aspect of the practical workings of being an artist like public speaking to the workshop I attended on the weekend on, 'How to get an exhibition' based on a text provided by the White Pube founders who led the crit and the workshop that day. I took a pic of my notes. I have that private blush on listening to their guidance and/or criticism where I think, that could be better, I'm doing that, okay forgot about that??! Basically trying to always perfect what you do but at the same time these are usually the aspects that I find the most difficult and find the hardest to learn and adapt to how I need to use them. I am not the best at social media as I prefer one to one with people. Life is so hectic working part time, having an art practice and then looking after your family and trying to, you know, just sleep. Jesus sleep is so good when done right! I literally loose years on my face that to sit and go throughSM accounts is the last thing I want to do. I wanna just chill with something funny, have a cuddle and kiss and relax with my family or some thriller stuff that I loose myself in.

It was a thrill this Saturday to participate though and I sincerely thank the people that made that possible at Turf and the White Pube free of charge no less. I really appreciate your time. See you next time.

By christinaillenapeake, Oct 18 2018 03:46PM

I loved Frieze Masters! For my practice being able to see so many pieces from cultures all over the world to ancient civilisations had my head spinning with ideas and fascination. I think the aspect that fascinates me the most is how contemporary these pieces look. Yes they maybe museum quality pieces but the aesthetic quality of them I find astonishing. There were Egyptian vases and bowls and I wondered for the life of me how it is possible to carve these pieces out of slabs of rock. The technology and dedication to their respective cultures and in many cases aspects of devotion are beyond remarkable. There were quite alot of war clubs that I saw. I remember looking at these things thinking 1. they are beautiful but 2. how many heads have been bashed in by these things? If tested would you find blood residue? There was a throwing club that I assume was lobbed through the air to take you out. Jesus that thing was solid. And that was your coller bone or hip gone!

I uploaded images of the Peruvian stand that had amazing tunics and textiles that they exhibited beautifully as artworks in their own right. Indian miniatures and the Haitain artworks from the Gallery of Everything that I still need to see the rest of the work at their gallery in Marlybone. Haiti is a country I would love to visit and run a project there. The history is remarkable. The only successful slave rebellion in history took plae their that was a key work by C. L. R. James, prolific Caribbean writer, titled 'The Black Jacobins' (1938) who wrote Beyond a Boundary (1963) another on the reading list. I mean every European superpower of the age tried to jump that tiny island but they said non in no uncertain terms.

I also visited the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House. I was knackered by that point but again alot of really interesting pieces. There was this set of paintings that looked like cave paintings and the artist had used natural pigments. I have reading quite alot about cave paintings and the conversation surrounding their production and the consumption of psychedelics and it is a fascinating read. The more I read about these drugs and their effects especially the treatments of mental illnesses such as PTSD is heartwarming from my point. I've had PTSD and it took a long time to recover from it, over a year in fact as I dealt with the trauma through counselling.

I usually can feel quite intimidated when going to galleries and seeing work as I want to be as strong as the work that bowls me over in the space but I came away this year just buzzing with ideas and proud that this is my profession and thinking where do you want to go next Mama?