Dreaming Guyana

Exhibition at Queens Central Library

Karran Sahadeo, “Untitled (Blue 2),” 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

September 4 to October 6, 2018
Queens Central Library
89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica NY

Dreaming Guyana features four artists of Guyanese heritage who, via photography, explore their intimate relationship between migration and homeland. In the past five decades, migration has defined Guyana. Today, more Guyanese live outside Guyana than within its borders — an exodus that began in the 1960s as they looked to the United States for economic and educational opportunities. Guyana now has a population of 760,000 and over one million living in its diaspora. Here in New York, Guyanese are the fifth largest immigrant community. Affectionately known as “Little Guyana,” the city has emerged as home to the most significant Guyanese community in the Caribbean diaspora.

These four artists, Khadija Benn, Dominque Hunter, Michael Lam, and Karran Sahadeo, examine how a “homeland” can be both fixed and unfixed, a constantly shifting idea and memory, and a physical place and a psychic space. Working in a variety of photographic forms, they bear witness to what drives one from a homeland and simultaneously keeps one tethered to it. The artists in Dreaming Guyana represent both spectrums of migration: the ones who leave and the ones who are left. They tease out symbols of decay and loss, avoiding trappings of nostalgia by envisioning avenues out of displacement. While their work engages the hard truths of a country defined by constant departure and deemed “a disappearing nation,” they equally offer restorative narratives of why this homeland is loved.

Exhibition curated by Grace Aneiza Ali.