TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary is a leading international art and advocacy foundation created in 2002 by the philanthropist and collector Francesca Thyssen- Bornemisza, representing the fourth generation of the Thyssen family’s commitment to the arts and public service. TBA21—based in Madrid, with situated projects in Venice and Córdoba—stewards the TBA21 Collection and its outreach activities, which include exhibitions, educational offers, and public programming.
TBA21–Academy is the foundation’s research center, fostering a deeper relationship to the Ocean and other bodies of water by working as an incubator for collaborative inquiry, artistic production, and environmental advocacy. For more than a decade, the Academy has catalyzed new forms of knowledge emerging from the exchanges between art, science, policy, and conservation in long-term and collaborative engagement through fellowships and residency programs. All activity at TBA21 is fundamentally driven by artists and the belief in art and culture as a carrier of social and environmental transformation.
The Current IV Caribbean: otras montañas, las que andan sueltas bajo el agua
[other mountains, those that are loose under the water]
Curated by Yina Jiménez Suriel, The Current IV, 2023–2025, intends to contribute to the emancipatory processes in the Caribbean region that have sought to bring its inhabitants closer to the Ocean and that began in the high mountains above sea level. The project will focus on identifying, studying, and spreading the knowledge of aesthetic strategies and tools generated from the Maroon experience in the Caribbean through the production of aesthetic thought, based on the premise that this approach will bring us closer to inhabiting the mountains that are below the level of the Caribbean Sea.
The Current IV, Flotation #1 to Guatemala is a multi-day, itinerant field journey which, through a collaborative manner, intends to delve into the strategies of improvisation, active listening, and body movement developed over centuries by the Garifuna communities insofar as they are the result of the Maroon experience in the insular and continental Caribbean region, currently located in the nation-states of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
MEET THE PARTICIPANTS
Yina Jiménez Suriel, curator and researcher with a master’s degree in visual studies. Her practice is an ongoing investigation into contemporary emancipatory processes and the construction of imaginations. She is the TBA21–Academy The Current IV Curatorial Fellow, a three years research project entitled otras montañas, las que andan sueltas bajo el agua. She is Associate Editor of the magazine Contemporary And (C&) for Latin America and the Caribbean. Among the exhibitions she has curated are: Vehículos. Una revisión (2018) at Casa Quien (Dominican Republic); one month after being known in that island (2020) at the Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger (Switzerland) curated with the artist Pablo Guardiola and co-produced by Caribbean Art Initiative; and the first chapter of the research project de montañas submarinas el fuego hace islas (2022) at Pivô (Brazil) co-produced with Kadist and took place between São Paulo and Santo Domingo. Yina is part of the curatorial team for the section Opening at ArcoMadrid for the editions of 2023 and 2024. Yina lives and works from the Dominican Republic.
Nadia Huggins is a self-taught visual artist who works primarily with photography. In 2011, Huggins co-founded the visual arts publication ARC Magazine. Her photography was awarded the Festival Caribéen de l'image du Mémorial ACTe Jury Prize in Guadeloupe in 2015, and has been exhibited regionally and internationally. Some of her more notable exhibitions have been: Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago, Museum of Latin American Art, California, USA, Jamaica Biennial, at the National Gallery in Kingston, Jamaica, 2017: Small Axe: Caribbean Queer Visualities in Belfast, U.K. in 2016 and Glasgow, U.K. in 2016: Fighting the Currents at Centro de La Imagen, Dominican Republic, 2016. She currently resides in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Monique Johnson is an Earth scientist exploring the impacts of geological hazards in the Eastern Caribbean, including the barriers and capacities for disaster risk reduction in Caribbean Societies. Johnson holds a BSc. in Geology, MSc. in Coastal Engineering and Post Graduate Diploma in the Assessment of Geological and Climate-related Risk. She has spent the last 15 years supporting communities living with geo-hazards in the Caribbean through projects with regional development agencies and collaborators towards the implementation of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies. Her focus has also been on improving science communication, building community engagement and participation. Johnson is currently exploring interdisciplinary and participatory methods to improve understanding of how Afro-indigenous communities navigate risk at the intersection of the socio-political, historical, geological and ecological landscape.
Tessa Mars is a Haitian visual artist born and raised in Port-au-Prince. She completed a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts at Rennes 2 University in France in 2006, after which she returned to live and work in Haiti. Mars's work has been shown recently in the exhibitions Who Tells a Tale Adds a Tail (2022) at the Denver Art Museum, one month after being known in that island (2020) at the Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger and in her solo show Île modèle - Manman zile - Island template (2019) with le Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince. Mars is an alumna of the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten (2020-2022) and now resides in The Netherlands. In her practice, Mars proposes storytelling and Image-making as transformative strategies for survival, resistance, empowerment and healing. Through her paintings and papier maché pieces, Mars investigates gender, History, and traditions, seeking to reconnect with a Haitian perspective of the world and visions of more serene possible futures.
Afropean philosopher and artist Dénètem Touam Bona tries to think about the contemporary world from the historical and utopian experience of «marronnage». DTB is author of several essays; Cosmopoéticas do Refugio (Cultura e Barbaria, 2020), Sagesse des lianes (Post Éditions, 2021), Fugitive, Where Are You Running? (Polity Press, 2023) DTB is regularly involved in creative projects such as La sagesse des lianes, an Afrodiasporic exhibition bringing together 20 artists at the Centre International d'art et du Paysage de Vassivière, in 2021. Also on Vassivière Island, in 2022 he imagined Spectrographies, contes de l'île étoilée, a collaborative work aimed at celebrating the memory of the struggles of the colonized. In March 2023, he was responsible for the dramaturgy of Louisa Marajo's immersive exhibition An dlo sargas viré! (Atrium, scène nationale de Martinique), focusing on the proliferation of sargassum and the issues involved.
Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza is an internationally recognized philanthropist, collector, and producer. In 2002, Francesca founded TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, a leading international art and advocacy foundation. In 2019, Francesca moved the activities of TBA21 to Madrid, Spain. Upon the invitation of the Minister of Culture of Spain, she inaugurated a series of exhibitions from her collection at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, representing the fourth generation contributing to the National Museum in the most successful public/private cooperation ever to be undertaken in Spain. The works in the TBA21 Collection testify to the artistic and ecological ethos of working with artists toward new forms of production, action, inquiry, and environmental conservation. TBA21 has since commissioned over 200 works and presents a new commission once a year at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. In 2022, the 20th anniversary year of the foundation, a new situated project was launched in a three-year partnership with the City of Córdoba, which encompasses an array of exhibitions created from the collection, as well as residencies, performances, and educational programs at C3A Córdoba and in public space.
Markus Reymann is Co-director of TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. He conceived and built TBA21–Academy as the foundation’s research center for fostering a deeper relationship with the Ocean and other bodies of water by working as an incubator for collaborative inquiry, artistic production, and environmental advocacy. For more than a decade, the Academy has catalyzed new forms of knowledge emerging from exchanges between art, science, policy, and conservation. Its situated research and practice are shared with the public in Ocean Space, located since 2019 in the Church of San Lorenzo in Venice. Its digital counterpart, Ocean-Archive.org, is a user-based platform in the making, conceived as a storytelling and pedagogical tool, and framework for collaborative research.Reymann also serves as Chair of Alligator Head Foundation, the scientific partner of TBA21–Academy. Alligator Head Foundation established and maintains the East Portland Fish Sanctuary and oversees a marine wet laboratory in Jamaica.
Ayumi Anzai Gallagher is an international private Wellbeing Director who travels the world leading private practices, retreats and events. Weaving together modern-day research-based techniques with traditional spiritual practices, Ayumi creates bespoke offerings designed to guide individuals to the fullest version of them Selves. Through yoga, dance, meditation, journaling, breathwork and plant medicine Ayumi offers experiences tailored to unlock and illuminate the divine essence within us all.
MEET THE RESIDENCE OF THE MUSEO DEL MUNDO
Garifuna history exhibition, featured artists and gastronomy at Dugu Bar in Livingston, Guatemala
On our first day of residence we started with a guided tour of the town of Livingston with our guide Clay García and Camila Caris. We were able to visit points of interest to learn about the context of the Garifuna people in Guatemala.
We visited the Henry Berrisford Hotel where a series of murals by Garifuna artist Arturo Sanchez from the 1980s can be seen. He represented the daily life of the Garifuna in relation to the elaboration of the Machuca; the sale of coconut bread in the downtown streets; the drumming, where the first Garifuna woman to play the drums is highlighted; and the traditional elaboration of cassava.
Photographic record by Nadia Huggins
Photographic record by Nadia Huggins
In the afternoon we had an introductory class to the Garifuna language with Clay at Las Tres Garifunas Restaurant. There we handed out educational and complementary material to teach the basic structure of the Garifuna language.
During the second day we started with a conversation with volcanologist Monique Johnson, who explained part of her research on the volcano of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the relationship that the community has with it, in addition to explaining the movements of the Caribbean tectonic plates that shape the islands.
In the afternoon we had a presentation of Garifuna music and dance by the group Los Hermanos Bernárdez, who presented the main dance styles such as Punta, Hungungugun, Wanárawa and Chumba. Afterwards there was also a small conversation with the group, to learn more about the elements that make up the Garifuna drum.
Epifania Bernardez is one of the most recognized dancers in Livingston, Guatemala and was the one who led the group's presentation.
On the third day of residence we took a boat to visit Río Dulce, a territory where the Maya Q'eqchi' community lives. We visited the Ak´ Tenamit school where the participants were able to learn more about the Maya calendar and the Nawales. Everyone acquired a pendant with the nawal that corresponds to them, carved by the local artist Don Chepe, who works with the seed of the corozo tree.
Photographic record by Nadia Huggins
In the afternoon at Dugu Bar we tasted Guifity, a traditional alcohol made from different medicinal plants. Then the artist Juan Carlos Sanchez made a live musical presentation, where he showed us part of his repertoire related to the genre known as Paranda. He also showed us a compilation of Jamaican music in Garifuna language.
For the last day of the residency we had a discussion with philosopher Dénètem Touam Bona, who shared with us part of his research on the processes of marooning in the Caribbean and then we had our last lunch at the Fish and Chips restaurant in Barrio Barique in Livingston Beach.