Rum Retort 15 - 30th October 2016, The Tobacco Warehouse, Greenock Curated by Tiffany Boyle & Natalia Palombo for Mother Tongue www.rumretort.com
Alberta Whittle | Annnalee Davis | Ewan Atkinson | Graham Fagen | Katherine Kennedy | Nick Whittle | Rayanne Bushell | Rodell Warner | Ronald Williams | Stacey Tyrell
With Writing from Cassie Ezeji and Nick Whittle
Rum Retort was curated by Tiffany Boyle and Natalia Palombo for Mother Tongue, bringing together the work of 10 artists based in the Caribbean and Scotland. The exhibition sought to re-trace and activate the connections between Greenock, Scotland and the Caribbean, sited in the town’s former Tobacco Warehouse. At the height of trade to the port, Greenock received upto 400 ships from the Caribbean annually, arriving with sugar and tobacco, and now like the Caribbean, is a stopping point for cruise ships. The exhibition took place during Black History Month Scotland and was part of the Galoshans Festival 2016. ‘Galoshans’ is a local term for guising at Halloween, a time for street parades and the spiritual world, sharing much with carnival in the Caribbean.
Rum Retort spanned photography, video, sound, installation and performance, from a diverse and inter-generational group of practitioners. The works presented shared aspects of performativity, costume, collage, stereotypes and motifs, alongside an interrogation of the historical contexts interconnecting Scotland and the Caribbean. Rum Retort looked to establish artistic dialogues and exchange between Scotland the Caribbean, and had its roots in a curatorial research residency undertaken by Mother Tongue with Fresh Milk Barbados in 2015.
As part of the project, a special closing event featured a commissioned performance from artist Alberta Whittle, titled 'A Recipe For Planter's Punch' documented below. The closing event also featured archival film of sugar-refining in Greenock and a reading of Trinidian author Sam Selvon's 1970 novel 'Plains of Caroni,' comissioned by Tate & Lyle.
Further information can be found at the Rum Retort project website at this link.