Fragments of Epic Memory

Columbus Museum of Art

Located in Lower Level Walter Wing
On view September 19, 2024–January 26, 2025

Admission Information

Fragments of Epic Memory is included with the cost of general admission.

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Exhibition Description

Fragments of Epic Memory invites visitors to explore the Caribbean and its diaspora, placing historical documents in dialogue with an immersive array of contemporary art.

Shaped by centuries of colonization, enslavement, and rebellion, the Caribbean islands brought together populations from across four continents, joining the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia in what writer Derek Walcott calls a “shipwreck of fragments … shards of a huge tribal vocabulary.” Placing these pieces into new arrangements, Fragments of Epic Memory assembles a multigenerational—and multicentric—survey of Caribbean art and visual culture.

The exhibition is anchored by a selection of over one hundred photographs from the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs. These photographs document the aftermath of emancipation in the nineteenth century, a period that coincided with the invention of photography. Surrounding this photographic archive are paintings, photographs, video projections, and other works by Caribbean artists from the 1960s to the present. This juxtaposition reveals the ongoing process of freedom-seeking and world-building across the region and its global diaspora.

Fragments of Epic Memory is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and is curated by Julie Crooks, Curator, Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The Columbus Museum of Art’s presentation is organized by Daniel Marcus, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions.

Paul Anthony Smith, Midnight Blue (detail), 2020. Unique picotage on inkjet print, coloured pencil, spray paint on museum board. Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchase, with funds from Friends of Global Africa and the Diaspora, 2022. © Paul Anthony Smith, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo AGO. 2022/12

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