In recent years, Miami has grown into a hub for the arts. There's no better proof of this than the recent transformation of the former Miami Art Museum, which was moved into a larger, more prominent space right on Biscayne Bay. It's now known as the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).
This exciting and still relatively new museum houses an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art. The PAMM also serves as an exhibition space for international artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. More specifically, the PAMM tends to focus on works from the Caribbean and Latin America.
In May 2015, a new exhibition titled Poetics of Relation will open at the downtown museum. The exhibition will focus on various diasporas and the experience of immigrants and their cultural identity. It will seek to present to the audience the inter-generational impact of immigration and root out the artists' understanding of place using a variety of mediums.
"Poetics of Relation" explores immigration and cultural identity — Photo courtesy of Perez Art Museum Miami
Six artists will be featured in Poetics of Relation: Zarina Bhimji, Xaviera Simmons, Hurvin Anderson, Yto Barrada, Ledelle Moe and Tony Capellan.
Zarina Bhimji is a Ugandan-born photographer and filmmaker of South Asian descent who lives and works in London. Her film Jangbar explores the colonial structure known as the Uganda Railway, often referred to as the "Lunatic Line," due to its high cost and the dangerous nature of its creation. (The Indian men who worked on the rail suffered deaths from diseases, massacres and even lion attacks.)
Xaviera Simmons is an African-American contemporary artist whose works include installation, performance, video, photography, sound and sculpture. After spending two years on a walking pilgrimage retracting the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, she creates works that examine everything from racial and cultural stereotypes to cultural identity.
PAMM is home to a vast collection of modern and contemporary artwork — Photo courtesy of Armando Colls / Perez Art Museum Miami
Hurvin Anderson is a painter and second-generation Jamaican based in London. His works explore the British identity of Caribbean immigrants. Works like Last House, an oil on linen piece, depict the palm trees and tropical life of the homes of his ancestors.
Yto Barrada is a Paris-born painter, sculptor and filmmaker who studied photography in New York City and returned to Tangier in Morocco to work.
Inspired by her interest in the migration of North Africans into Europe, Barrada uses her particular insight as the daughter of immigrants to capture the very real struggles of immigrant culture that don't quite align with the usual depictions of tourism in Morocco.
South African-born Ledelle Moe lives in the United States. While she's currently based in Maryland, she frequently travels to her hometown in Durban to maintain her connection to her family and culture. She maintains her perspective as an immigrant at the forefront of her often large-scale sculptures, etchings and drawings.
Visitors at PAMM will undoubtedly enjoy the "Poetics of Relation" exhibition, along with the museum's various permanent works — Photo courtesy of Iwan Baan / Perez Art Museum Miami
Tony Capellan is a Dominican artist exploring Dominican diaspora and the effects of immigration on family, friends and other expatriates – a subject that will resonate with much of Miami's Caribbean population.
His installation piece titled Mar Caribe – involving the rubber sandals that are so frequently worn by those living in impoverished Caribbean and Latin American countries, as well as barbed wire, a symbol of the dangers of immigration – is sure to have a profound impact on museum-goers.
The exhibition Poetics of Relation opens Thursday, May 28, 2015, at 7 p.m. with a panel discussion hosted by curators Tobias Ostrander and Tumelo Mosaka. It's free with admission.