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Lisandro Suriel |

Ghost Island: Exploring Decolonial Imagination

A lecture by 2019 Tilting Axis Fellow Lisandro Suriel, which took place at CCA Glasgow in October 2019; presented as part of the Fellowship in collaboration with the RRS series.

“Who am I? Where do I come from? Where does my story begin?

I find myself marooned on an island in a state of amnesia. Here, the only thing I can remember is that I am Black.” 

Tilting Axis 2019/20 fellowship recipient, artist Lisandro Suriel welcomes you to Ghost Island, an ongoing project exploring the relationship between imagination and decolonization. Ghost Island came to be when the Ethiopian sea changed its name to the Atlantic Ocean and displaced a plethora of memories. Lisandro Suriel is a photographer, born and raised in Saint Martin, an island in the Dutch Caribbean, whose work responds to magic surrealism, fiction and dreamscapes. Initially studying at the Academy of Art in The Hague, he received his Masters in Artistic Research and Art Studies from the University of Amsterdam, with his graduate thesis analysing early 20th-century illustrations of Caribbean mythology in relation to cultural aphasia. 

Offering up a much-needed subaltern perspective on postcoloniality and deconstructing the Black imagination, Suriel challenges orthodox institutions of knowing that perpetuate a hegemonic paradigm. What does it mean to decolonize? And where do we begin?






Further References

Read Phantasmagoria: The Realms of the Black Imagination by Lisandro Suriel, reflecting on his artistic research practice following the Tilting Axis Fellowship here.




Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and Decolonial Freedom, Walter D. Mignolo,

in Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 26, no. 7-8, 2009, pp. 159–181.

An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque, Krista A. Thompson

An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization, Gayatri Spivak

They Came Before Columbus, Ivan Van Sertima

The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race From: 4500 B.C to 2000 A.D, Chancellor. Williams


Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak - An Aesthetic Education in the Age of Globalization, [watch]




The Tilting Axis Fellowship is a direct outcome of the Tilting Axis meetings in 2015 at Fresh Milk in Barbados, in 2016 at the Pérez Art Museum Miami and in 2017 at The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, and follows on from the inaugural fellowship in 2017 awarded to Jamaican curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson. For its 2019 iteration, Scotland based cultural partners including the Glasgow School of Art, The School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, CCA Glasgow, LUX Scotland, Hospitalfield, the British Council, and curatorial duo Mother Tongue came together to offer a research fellowship in Scotland for an emerging contemporary art practitioner living and working in the Caribbean to share knowledge around current approaches towards commissioning and collecting in the arts. This Fellowship focuses on the development of pragmatic and critical curatorial and artistic practice hailing from the Caribbean region and is research and practice-led, and mentor-based. Selected recipient Lisandro Suriel spent the month of October 2019 between Glasgow, Dundee, St. Andrews and Edinburgh.

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