Marsha Pearce talks to Llanor Alleyne

Theodore Zwinger III (1658-1724): coat of arms with portrait, including a plague doctor. Oil painting.


The covid-19 pandemic has disrupted everything. But some of us have found productive ways to combat the situation. Moko’s art editor Marsha Pearce has launched an interview series inviting Caribbean artists to engage in dialogue amid our changed circumstances. Quarantine and Art, or Q&A, has already featured artists like Joshua Lue Chee Kong, Sheena Rose, and Mafalda Mondestin. In this extract from the very first Q&A, Pearce speaks with Llanor Alleyne, a Barbados-born New York-raised mixed media artist who recently moved from Barbados to Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the discussion, both reflect on Alleyne’s new series of collages, “Fugitive Ecologies”, among other things.

Marsha Pearce: How are you? How are you handling this unfolding pandemic situation?

Llanor Alleyne: Thank you for asking how I am. This question, often casually asked as if the answer was already spoken, now carries more meaningfulness as we all endure the covid-19 pandemic. I am, like so many of my friends, confronted with a roller coaster of emotions on a daily basis as we all practice social distancing and self-quarantine.

MP: The pandemic has altered human interactions as well as how we relate to the various systems in our world at large. Tell me about your new work. How are you mobilising the term “fugitive ecologies”? Are you thinking strictly in terms of our relationship to the natural world or is nature a metaphor?

LA: My move to Tulsa was greeted with immediate confinement, which meant and continues to mean that I live in a virtually empty loft. As lovely as the place is, its barrenness can be overwhelming. I managed to secure two large folding tables from Target to set up a makeshift studio corner and unpacked the one box I knew had paintings I’d made in Barbados and scraps from work produced in the past couple of years. The collages that make up “Fugitive Ecologies” are rebellious botanicals. They are sprouting up — in their unusual and unique forms.

MP: With this pandemic, it feels like we are in the process of making a new world. What can we learn from the practice of collage that we can apply to this world-making process?

LA: It has become almost cliché to say that making is a form of healing, but some clichés are true. Collage is world-building for me. And it can be achieved with almost anything at hand. In my case, the making extends to the very paper and patterns that make up my work. There is a soothing quality to all of these steps: the finding of the desired pattern, the cutting of the shapes, the arranging of the pieces to find something cohesive, whole, and new. Now imagine doing that in a very real-life way.

Read the full interview over at Marsha’s Q&A page.