On the occasion of her exhibition Maelstrom, Teresita Fernández (ACC 1997) offers us a glimpse into the preparation and research behind her most recent body of work in the form of a visual essay. Extensive research has always been central to Fernández’s creative practice, however, its scope and complexity is rarely made overt. What is included here comprises a fragment of Fernández’s conceptual inquiries related to this body of work, and provides an important window into the underlying element of social practice throughout her decades-long career.

Gathering together scholars, philosophers, and resources that include films, interviews, critical essays, and poems, Fernández shares insightful histories of the Caribbean, its people, and the colonial legacy it continues to endure. Organized thematically around the works featured in the exhibition―Rising(Lynched Land), Caribbean Cosmos, Black Beach(Unpolished Diamond), Hurakán, and Archipelago(Cervix)―this compendium seeks to offer resources for anyone who wishes to cultivate a richer understanding of the artworks in Maelstrom and/or learn more about the often overlooked histories of the Caribbean and its diaspora.

“The first thing I do when I start a new work is I ask this very simple question, ‘Where am I?’ I take that question very seriously. So, in a way, I start excavating and researching where I am historically, economically, socially, racially, geographically, visually, emotionally, physically—where exactly is this site located? Not just physically, but in people’s imaginations and in history and in the entire context of place. And I use the word ‘place’ as both a noun and a verb, in the sense that we ‘place’ ourselves within places as a deliberate and critical gesture towards decolonizing our minds.”

— Teresita Fernández