Family Connection

Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons (6 Nov. 2021 – 20 Jan. 2022)

The artist collective Family Connection brings together vibrant, mixed-media artworks (in this instance, by Rudsel Martinus, Glenda Martinus, Gala Martinus, Quinsy Gario, Jörgen Gario, Caldron Lewis and Whitney Lewis), enacting Carnival and offering the possibility to experience and examine together its legacy as a signature of Afro-Curaçao identity and collectivity in the Netherlands.

The group exhibition Den tur circumstancia nos lo sigi move (Under all circumstances we will continue to move) presented at Casco Art Institute (6 Nov. 2021 – 20 Jan. 2022) uses as a point of departure a 1983 video report of the Antilliaanse Carnival in Utrecht, made by then art student Rudsel Martinus. Seated, Martinus speaks directly into the camera, stressing the importance of keeping the Caribbean communal memory of Carnival alive. He speaks in Papiamentu – the Spanish and Portuguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch Caribbean – referencing a deep connection to traditions of marronage (the process of extricating oneself from slavery) and refusal. Now an artist and a member of the Family Connection collective, Martinus shared this material with his nephew Quinsy Gario in 2019, and this exhibition, titled after the epilogue to the recording, is the collective’s response.

After studying the video report and its historical position, as well as the broader development of Carnival in the Caribbean, Family Connection presents a collection of artworks that speak of generational solidarity and revolutionary actions. In the unearthing of stories that have long been dormant, the members look at the Black Caribbean craftsmanship involved in producing Carnival costumes, the choreography of the masses in public space, the genealogies of the soundscapes that inspire movement, and the historical poetics that came to the fore while organising the Carnival in Utrecht.

About the artists

Family Connection is an artist collective formed through kinship and beyond, based in both Curaçao and the Netherlands. Established in 2005 by Glenda Martinus and Gala Martinus, the current formation of the collective includes: Jörgen Gario, Quinsy Gario, Caldron Lewis, Whitney Lewis, Gala Martinus, Glenda Martinus & Rudsel Martinus. The participation of Family Connection is an extended invitation from artist, activist and politician Quinsy Gario, who was initially invited to take part in the special project 2020/21 of the Hartwig Art Production | Collection Fund.