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What is ‘flow’?


As part of IDB Cultural Center’s Caribbean focus, we present an exhibit of art from the region dealing with the impact of popular visual culture and creativity in its economy. It has long been held that  art was not an economically sound activity. Today many make a living of making art, whether selling graffiti paintings on canvas or tattooing rich and famous celebrities.


In the financial world, “flow” is linked to cash revenues. On the other hand, in the urban dictionary “flow” refers to the rapper’s ability to rhyme in a skillful manner; it’s an aesthetic quality that denotes mastery of improvisation, which often turns into prestige. That’s why we selected this term as the title of the exhibit, to highlight the importance of creative culture in the development of dynamic economies.


FLOW: Economies of the Look and Creativity in Contemporary Art from the Caribbean showcases works by twenty-seven artists from fourteen Caribbean nations. This exhibit explores one of the most important trends in contemporary art – the appropriation of techniques, motifs and styles from popular cultural expressions related to the economies of the look, such as make-up, hairstyle, nail art, aesthetic surgery, tattooing, piercing, and other body modifications. They are part of an aesthetic arsenal from which artists draw inspiration when dealing with hot-button economic and socio-political issues. Looking themselves in the mirror to debunk gender and racial stereotypes, mimicking methods of beauty parlors and barbershops, and caricaturing attitudes in relation to ideals of beauty, these artists unveil the entanglement between image and power.


_DSC2178All Photos by IADB, Sergio Gonzalez Fernandez

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