caribbean talent

Antoine A.R.Hunt. Deconstruction Forest, 2011. Tree, Metal Staples, Screws and Glue. 180" x 60". Collection of the artist

Located 650 miles east off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Bermuda isn’t technically part of the Caribbean – but we don’t hold that against the island. Its West Indian flair and British colonial heritage imbue a delicious island flavor to the Atlantic escape.

This large installation was a part of the Ellipsis: the BNG 2012 Biennial of Contemporary Bermuda Art

“Inside the museum, we were met with a 30-foot cedar tree (Juniperus Bermudiana) suspended from the roof, emerging from the removed ceiling panels, extending entirely into the space, hovering several inches off the floor. A tree. On the Monday following the exhibition opening, word had gotten round that we had a cedar tree.

It is illegal to cut down a cedar tree in Bermuda. These are our prized indigenous trees that through blights and industry are now regulated and protected. So it’s a big deal. But the investigation, led by a government personnel sought to give a five thousand dollar fine; he was rebuked by the posted sign indicating that the artist, Antoine A. R. Hunt had received the tree from the agency’s sibling department: this was a Parks and Conservation internal debate. Once again art challenged the institution.

Children entered the space and gasped. Adults shuddered. The tree had been dissected– not simply pulled from its roots and shoved back into the space, but sawed apart, section by vivisection the tree had been destroyed of its vitality then carefully, shrewdly, reconstructed in a most unwholesome location. Long gone the soil, the light. Held together with bolts, dripping Gorilla glue, staples, its limbs mismatched. When I saw the proposal I thought. When I saw the work I hurt.

Art can do this– enter into the body, move through the mind’s eye and take hold of an emotion (if we let it) to register somewhere that may feel uncomfortable in the public space. How often do we pause to think? To reflect?

What really matters?” - Lisa Howie