Edition 2023

PRESENTED BY Tiger Strikes Asteroid, New York, United States.

Samantha Box

Caribbean Dreams  

Tracing her roots to African, Indian, Jamaican and Trinidadian ancestry, US-based Samantha Box finds a home within the diaspora. Conscious of the popular tendency to romanticize the notion of the homeland, she fractures the myth of the origin story, allowing herself to exist within multiplicities instead.

In Constructions, Box builds tableaux and still-lifes using family heirlooms and objects carrying cultural memory. Plants, local to the Caribbean and “alien” to the United States, are grown under artificial lights ‒ stand-ins for immigrant populations, they adopt strategies, that are crucial for survival in foreign lands. Produce stickers and receipts collage on top of the image, gesturing towards capitalist society’s obsession with the commodification of identity. Archival images of indentured laborers draw upon the Caribbean’s colonized past, while family photographs layer to assert an alternate, emancipated history. In deliberately exposing the artifice of the studio, Box comments on the role it has historically played in reinforcing the fallacy of viewing the Caribbean as an exotic colonial paradise.

In Flashcards, colonial legacies of categorization collide with traditional knowledge systems, as the artist learns the vernacular names of Caribbean fruits and vegetables, repeating them after her mother. Their different accents reveal the transformations resulting from migration, as well as globalized economy’s demand for the homogenization of cultures.

Caribbean Dreams ‒ where the pixelated photograph meets the vernacular ‒ navigates multiple temporalities. The sugarcane, that once signified the colonizer’s exploitative thirst for prosperity, is reclaimed in an act of power. Colonial representations ‒ ethnographic photographs and Dutch still-life paintings ‒ are challenged. Using self-portraiture, Box animates the previously disenfranchized Black subject, subverting imperially dictated archival images and histories of the Caribbean.

Tanvi Mishra

Curator: Tanvi Mishra

With support from the Louis Roederer Foundation and Polka.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture