In Conversation with Grace Aneiza Ali

Those Who Leave and Those Who Are Left

Guyanese-American curator Grace Aneiza Ali on the exhibition “Liminal Space” in which Guyanese artists explore migration.

Untitled #1, from the series, Mama’s Clothes, 2015, by Keisha Scarville. Courtesy of the artist.

By Celeste Hamilton Dennis | Contemporary &

Celeste Hamilton Dennis: Why the title Liminal Space?

Grace Aneiza Ali: I’m fascinated by the linguistics of “liminal” — it’s from the Latin word “limens,” which means “threshold,” a place of transition, waiting, and unknowing. It’s an entry point to venture into challenging conversations about both spectrums of the migration arc: those who leave and those who are left.

CHD: Why are artists of Guyanese heritage uniquely positioned to explore this global theme of migration?

GAA: Migration has been our norm for the past six decades. More people live outside of Guyana’s borders than within the country. Dominique Hunter, an artist who is based in Georgetown, Guyana, has said that the moment you understand what migration means as a child growing up in Guyana, you are told that your “… greatest aspiration should be to leave.” As an artist, she’s worked really hard to resist that. Migration swirls around Guyanese people. This is why I look to the voices of Guyanese artists to engage with migration as the defining movement of our time.

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