Annalee Davis | November 2020
Annalee Davis is a visual artist, cultural instigator, educator, and writer. She works at the intersection of biography and history, focusing on post-plantation economies by engaging with a particular landscape in Barbados. Her studio, located on a working dairy farm, operated historically as a 17th-century sugarcane plantation, offering a critical context for her practice by engaging with the residue of the plantation through the landscape it irrevocably altered and its continued impact on the contemporary environment. Digging into the soil, she mines 18th & 19th-century sherds and goes over family and public archives to unpack the history of this former plantation.
The presented drawings are made onto old plantation ledger pages that Davis rescued from the offices. Countering the conventional daily logging of economic plantation activity, she inscribes images of plants that she collects from the surroundings, especially those that are native to the island as opposed to the ones that the British brought during the colonization period. She attempts to decolonize the ledger by repopulating them with elements native to the island, exposing gaps in Barbados’ plantation history buried in the soil, in the public imaginary, and inadequately documented in the archives. Also interested in parasites and the Caribbean’s history of infection, her practice currently considers historical contaminations traumatically inscribed into the landscape, allowing for critical evaluation, self-awareness, and transformation.
Davis has been making and showing her work regionally and internationally since the early 90s. Her work has been featured in museums such as the Perez Art Museum (PAMM), Miami; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Queens Museum of Art; The Studio Museum, Harlem; and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. She received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (1986), and an MFA from Rutgers, New Jersey (1989).