Angelique V. Nixon - “Saltwater Trouble”

Presenter/s: Dr Angelique V. Nixon

Event type: Performance

Event date: Friday, 10 February 2017 - 4:15pm

Event venue: CIW BUILDING (BUILDING 188), FELLOWS LANE, ANU

Further information: Conference website

*This poetry performance is part of the Australian Association for Caribbean Studies conference 2017*

Angelique V. Nixon is writer, artist, teacher, scholar, activist, and poet—born and raised in Nassau, The Bahamas and currently based in Trinidad and Tobago. She identifies as an Afro-Caribbean woman, multi-racial Black, queer and sex-positive being, rooted in working-class struggle.

Angelique earned her Ph.D. in English specializing in Caribbean literature, postcolonial studies, and women and gender studies at the University of Florida, and she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Africana Studies at New York University. She is author of the poetry and art collection Saltwater Healing – A Myth Memoir and Poems (Poinciana Paper Press, 2013). Her scholarly book Resisting Paradise: Tourism, Diaspora, and Sexuality in Caribbean Culture (University Press of Mississippi, 2015) won the Caribbean Studies Association 2016 Barbara T. Christian Literary Award for Best Book in the Humanities.

Her research, cultural criticism, and poetry have been published widely; and her artwork has been featured at several exhibitions. Angelique strives through her activism, writing, and art to disrupt silences, challenge systems of oppression, and carve spaces for resistance and desire. She is a Lecturer at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.

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Saltwater Trouble

Dr Angelique V. Nixon has planned a performance based on poetry focused on issues experienced by women in the Caribbean. Her poetry and performance art presentation, “Saltwater Trouble,” will focus around two pieces of work by the Afro-Caribbean queer woman writer, who works to disrupt silences, write resistance, and create Black, queer, and woman loving spaces.

She will share her short art film — “Troubling Identities,” which is about mixed race identities in the Caribbean and seeks to unsilence troubling histories/herstories about racial mixing and migration in Caribbean families using the family stories – centered on the stories of her grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Although the Caribbean is celebrated as a creolised “mix-up” space, there is much silence around race and Blackness in particular that simplify ancestry and celebrate a mixed-race utopia. But the system of colourism remains in place, yet it ruptures within sites of families that are mixed race and working class, who resist silence. “Troubling Identities” represents these issues at the intersections of race, colour, gender, class, and sexuality in The Bahamas specifically and the Caribbean more broadly. Through family photographs and myth memories weaved through vibrant pastel and poetic landscapes, this art film seeks to make visible the submerged and vexed sexual-racial relationships that make up the Caribbean family — focusing on the stories of Caribbean women and Black women in particular and lives too often bound by gender.

Angelique will also perform pieces from her collection Saltwater Healing — A Myth Memoir & Poems. In this collection of collage and poetry, Angelique finds the path to healing and empowerment lies in both language and image. In eighteen snapshots, she collages photographs, drawings, and actual pieces from the Bahamian landscape—silk cotton, woman’s tongue pods, dried leaves and seeds—and uses them alongside handwritten poetry to explore and understand difficult stories through the lens of the natural world. She focuses on her experiences engaging home as a Black mixed-race queer Bahamian woman living abroad. The poetry and myth memoir represents troubled women’s stories (herstories) too often left out of our “history” books. It represents the messiness—the stuff we don’t often speak about–poverty, domestic violence, drug abuse, disease, mental health, sexual trauma, sexuality, race and color, class and privilege, and environmental crisis. The pieces are grounded in stories her grandmother told her as a young child – many which centered on the healing powers of land and seascape.

A sample of a poetry-based performance by Dr Nixon can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV0BQHVKteE

A poetry reading from Saltwater Healing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K43m7MQuKq4

Similar relevant websites are Dr Nixon’s academic website:

https://sta.uwi.edu/igds/AngeliqueVNixon.asp

and blog (includes her art and activism): http://consciousvibration.blogspot.com.au/

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Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute