Allana Clarke is a conceptual artist born in 1987 originally from Trinidad and Tobago. Her practice is expressed through sculpture, video, performance and installation work. The residencies that can be marked off on her list at present are The Vermont Studio Center, the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, and the Lighthouse Works. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Skowhegan fellowship, the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship MICA, the Peter W. Brooke Fellowship as well as the Vermont Studio Civil Society Fellowship. Adding to her accomplishments, Allana received the Franklin Furnace grant in 2015. Completing her MFA from the Mount Royal School of Art at MICA, she currently resides in Brooklyn New York.
The artist branches out the reach of her investigation into the formation of power politics as an authoritative edifice and an abstraction through her selected choice of mediums. Her practice is enthused by conceptual information largely chosen from colonial and post-colonial theory, philosophy, art history and gender studies. Her work is however not solely informed by these texts as she intertwines personal narrative within this theoretical context.
On Allana’s website she shares a statement bringing to light certain declarations that she outlines as ultimate truths. She expresses therein that all people are identified and affected by our cultural group personae. She continues to say that discourse diction is inherently problematic. Her statement goes on to say that all discourses are totalizing structures that engage cultural group identity and push various individual nuanced entities together. Lastly, she states that there is no discourse that encompasses the cultural group of women of colour that exist within the Caribbean and American context.
“The primary discourses that they/we/I could fit into are ‘Feminism’ and ‘Black Liberation’ movements. They/we/I do and have not fully been articulated within either of these spaces. ‘Black Liberation’ theories, while giving the perception that “black” is inclusive of both male and female, actually focus on the black male as sole agent and his agenda to gain equal citizenship with the white male allowing him to fully participate within the capitalist system and equally gain the benefits of said system. While feminism, is focused on the white female, using liberalism to negate the experiences of non-white females.”
Allana’s work is thus centred around this point of realization. She asks the question of whether it is possible to assert her agency while acknowledging inherent antagonism? Which leads her to question if it possible to do so while not participating in hegemonic practices. Or if it is possible to create a non-totalizing identity structure? Allana’s work serves to investigate these concerns and question the way in which human beings identify as well as the way in which they are identified and is a result of hegemonic power structures.