Healing a Broken World


Action in the Yard / Serious Play screened at the Inter-American Development Bank Virtual Summit – Healing a Broken World. The Power of Art for Social Transformation in the Post-Pandemic Era. Artist Christopher Cozier in collaboration with Amir Denzel Hall, Robert Young, Suelyn Choo and Luis Vasquez La Roche.

The artist Christopher Cozier, working in Trinidad, has invited four fellow local artists to improvise a series of unique actions, each in their own style, that address the particular histories of their Caribbean sense of burden and belonging, of what Cozier calls “the perpetual process of healing and transforming that is endemic to his culture.” The work takes the idea of assembly as the tutelary spirit for this multipart collective performance that is itself an assemblage of viewpoints and personal narratives not so much spoken as voiced through idiosyncratic acts of expression, taking into account social conditions of labor, the troubling legacies of bodies and the concept of property, and the powers of negotiation and adaptation that go beyond the moment of the current pandemic to redress the wounds of past and present, striking out toward the territory of the future.

These actions live in a symbolic register of determination, the grit of present realities, and the complexities of what home and recuperation mean as embodied in improvisational sequences of walking into the “bush,” submitting to water, and moments of gathering that exemplify trust. Along with Cozier, artists Hall, Young, Choo, and Vasquez La Roche explore heritage, gender, sexuality, spirituality, the weight of colonialism, and the liberation of black bodies. To “rest at home” becomes in this collective work an inquiry into a space beyond a specific place that is always in a condition of inquiry, innovation, renovation, and the ongoing work of repair.