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Jul 10, 2017

The Image Factory Opens its “Lab”

For four years, the Image Factory Art Foundation has opened its space to new and established artists during the summer months for what it calls free and open experimentation, where those in the creative field are invited to perform, install or project work in the space for a maximum limit of twenty-four hours. The concept is an effort to inspire urgency, both in the consumers and the producers of culture and to demonstrate that in our current cultural climate the currency must be urgency, the attitude one of gravitas and the work: the focus. This year’s Lab contains a healthy mix of social commentary, performance and personal introspection that has become the trademark of the Factory, as Aaron Humes reports.


Katie Numi Usher

Katie Numi Usher, Artist

“A huge part of, I think, my life as a woman has been my weight being constantly monitored, my food intake being monitored, and I think the question is not so much about health, [but] more about aesthetics – how appealing is my appearance.”


Aaron Humes, Reporting

Is this woman fat? Or is she just healthy? Not questions we would normally ask of anyone publicly, but that’s why artist Katie Usher opened up this space at the Image Factory this morning. As part of the annual LAB experiment where for the next two weeks, artists explore the furthest reaches of their talents and minds, Usher poured out her life-long frustration with body obsession into her chosen medium, art.



“Do you consider yourself healthy at this time?”


Katie Numi Usher

“That’s a good question. Healthy in what sense? Because there is the physical body but there also the emotional and the mental body; and I will tell you that having people constantly telling you about something you are well aware of – who isn’t aware of their weight, their height – it does take a toll emotionally.”


Also on the menu are creative expressions about social issues. The always-challenging Briheda Haylock will tackle another local taboo – domestic abuse, from the point of the view of abusers.


Briheda Haylock

Briheda Haylock, Artist

“It’s not only looking at women being abused but abuse on a whole, with men and children and women. So I don’t want to talk too in depth about it because it’s a surprise for the audience but it’s to bring more awareness. And I’m not going to look at the victim – we should stop looking at the victim and look at the person who is causing the problem; so I am going to explore the views of the abuser. All I’m going to say is it’s going to be interesting; be prepared for an unforgettable night.”


Taiwanese mother-of-three Yaoling Lee is just getting back into the art world after a hiatus, but she has an ambitious project planned for the Lab later this week.


Yaoling Lee

Yaoling Lee, Artist

“It’s an improvised act; I combine music and dance. I have two sets of musicians coming including one dancer; classical music and the other is African drum with dance. I used to do drawing and painting in a bar with a jazz musician a long time ago and since Katie has designed the space I would like to do it but in different ways; there will be a different kind of feeling. And I can’t wait to see how it comes out.”


And not to be left out of the action is Yasser Musa, who wants to have tea with Donald Trump. But the U.S. President isn’t coming to North Front Street.


Yasser Musa

Yasser Musa, Artist

“We have had to bear the overbearing consequences of him becoming the leader of what they called the free world – every night, we have to endure this harassing bombardment, this ridiculous global circus. And to me, having tea with him – I will write a poetry book in that moment, from five a.m. to ten a.m. my lab will go and I will write and publish the book and put it online. And what will this poem called Tea with Trump be about – I have no idea; I’ve been writing it in my head so long; I thought it was one thing and then this weekend it changed, because he allowed his daughter to sit with all those world leaders as if it’s Take Your Daughter to School Day, or work day; and you just put her with Angela Merkel and the president of China – you’ve seen the news about that. Now all power to her as a woman and all that, but that’s not the point. The point is, how do we deal with this kind of disruption? And I think it’s important for artists to confront this global space, because yes, we live in Belize; but we have to interpret and tolerate this ongoing disruption in our mind. So this whole act in the lab is about how do we confront our personal tea moments, which is peace with ourselves, and the atomic energy of media.”


It all adds up to an interesting fortnight of expression, creation and thought provocation. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.


All exhibits are free to attend. On Tuesday morning, Leroy “The Grandmaster” Young will launch a DVD of his work titled “The Poet of Pinks Alley” featuring an extended interview and audio and video recording of Young performing. Young and others will also be giving live performances.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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