Dust Specks on the Sea

Art Center

from 15 Oct 2022 to 29 Jan 2023 - Centre d'art

Contemporary Sculpture from the French Caribbean & Haiti Group show

Works by : Raphaël Barontini, Sylvia Berté, Julie Bessard, Hervé Beuze, Jean-François Boclé, Alex Burke, Vladimir Cybil Charlier, Gaëlle Choisne, Ronald Cyrille, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Kenny Dunkan, Edouard Duval-Carrié, Adler Guerrier, Jean-Marc Hunt, Nathalie Leroy-Fiévée, Audry Liseron-Monfils, Louisa Marajo, Ricardo Ozier-Lafontaine, Jérémie Paul, Marielle Plaisir, Michelle Lisa Polissaint et Najja Moon, Tabita Rezaire, Yoan Sorin, Jude Papaloko Thegenus and Kira Tippenhauer

Guest curator: Arden Sherman – director of Hunter East Harlem Gallery

In 1964, French President Charles de Gaulle visited Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana on an official state visit. Overflying the Caribbean, de Gaulle described the islands as “dust specks on the sea.” 1. This famous quote evokes the almost otherworldly mystery of an aerial view of the Caribbean archipelago, while at the same time revealing a deep-seated hierarchical perspective of the region, stemming from France’s history as a powerful colonizing force in the Caribbean. De Gaulle was overtly emphasising the paternalist political metaphor, convinced in the course of his visit and in the company of the writer and politician Aimé Césaire, that "you don’t build a state on dust." 2                        


In bringing together works by twenty-six artists from Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and Haiti, “Dust Specks on the Sea” defies this colonial image by opting for a powerful density and materiality. It presents various approaches to subject matter, materials, and process that speak to contemporary practices of artists from this region, underscoring their participation in a globalized art world and putting pressure on notions of who is at its “center” and who is on its “periphery.” The medium specific, sculpture-based exhibition presents artwork in a distinctive way and integrated way, evoking a network of ideas around heritage, history, identity, community, and politics.


1The story is recounted by Betsy Wing in her “Translator’s Introduction” in Édouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010), p. 13



“Dust Specks on the Sea: Contemporary Sculpture from the French Caribbean & Haiti” was curated by Arden Sherman and organized in 2018 by the Hunter College Art Galleries, New York City, with curatorial assistance from Katie Hood Morgan and Marie Vickles.  This exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and Hunter College. Additional sponsorship has been provided by the Cultural Affairs Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe and the FACE Foundation.


In France, the exhibition is coproduced by Hunter College, the Villa du Parc (Haute Savoie) and the Ferme du Buisson (Seine-et-Marne) centres for Contemporary Art of National Interest. It is supported by the FEAC (overseas arts and cultural exchange fund).



Sunday 15 October at 4pm

with the curator and some of the artists

free admission

from wednesday to friday, 2:00 pm 6:00 pm

saturday and sunday, 2:00 pm7:30 pm

closed 25th Dec and 1st Jan


tours and workshops


for the family



every second wednesday and school holidays

at 2:30 pm

age 5+ / 5 € per child (advance booking required)


tour + narration

sun 23 oct at 4 pm

ages 3–5 / 5 € per child (advance booking required)


teen workshops

tues 25 oct and 1 nov 2-6 pm

ages 13–17 free (advance booking required)


tours for all


guided tours

continuously / free

group  tours

advance booking required:

Arden Sherman


Arden Sherman is a curator, organizer, and designer. She is currently Director & Curator of Hunter East Harlem Gallery, a multi-disciplinary space for art exhibitions and socially-minded projects located at Hunter College in New York City. Her specializations are socially-engaged art, community work, and photography. Arden has years of experience in non-profit and university settings and has held positions at Creative Time, Loyola Marymount University Gallery, Pratt Institute, as well as Prospect New Orleans and Headlands Center for the Arts.


Hunter East Harlem Gallery - New York City 


Hunter East Harlem Gallery is a multidisciplinary space for art exhibitions and socially-minded projects. Located on the ground floor of Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work at 119th Street and 3rd Avenue, the gallery presents exhibitions and public events that foster academic collaborations at Hunter College while addressing subjects relevant to the East Harlem community and greater New York City. The gallery seeks to initiate partnerships with publicly-oriented organizations and focuses on showcasing artists who are engaging in social practice, public interventions, community projects, and alternative forms of public art. Since its inception in 2011, all exhibitions and programs at Hunter East Harlem Gallery have been and remain free and open to the public.