Local artists Kate Gritton and Valerie Grove brought “Surface Tension” to St. Leonard’s in an exhibition expressing the power of the tangible and intangible forces around us. This Hastings Arts Forum two hander, held in the first half of November, also included four women of African and Caribbean descent. “Wheel n Come Again” was an artistic and spoken word interpretation of Afro- Caribbean diaspora films.

Kate’s art provided tectonic snapshots of the beauty lying deep inside the rocky hills that surround Hastings. Valerie’s work recycles nature, deploying leaf and bark amidst a stark white, evoking suprematism and, sometimes, op-art. Kate produces oil paintings and original prints. Valerie marshals paint and found material on canvases, whether large or small.

Over many years both women’s artistic output has emphasised the art in nature. In the process they make bold aesthetic statements about the environment, and our abuse of it. Valerie and Kate have worked abroad
as artists, in the Middle East and France respectively. However, both are currently channelling the Sussex countryside for their inspiration, generating dramatic images that somehow both unsettle and soothe at the same time.

Carla Armour, Tokini Fubara, Leslie Farah Marem and Monika Akila Richards are artists based in Brighton or the wider south-east. Brighton- based company Legacy Film is the umbrella under which they, and the four Afro-Caribbean women who curated the show, have brought their diasporic experience to St Leonard’s and elsewhere in Sussex.

“Wheel n Come Again” is Jamaican patois for “rewind”, “replay”, or “take something back and play it”. Monika, Leslie, Tokini and Carla do precisely that with spoken poetry, photography, animation and paint as mediums to interpret the pivotal cinematic expressions of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora that ran silently throughout the show. Carla’s paintings are vivid, colourful and impressionistic. Leslie utilises photographic and computer¬generated media. Tokini makes installations, which on this occasion consisted of moving images on a zoetrope rotating on a record player.

Poet Monika Akila Richards talked to Hastings Independent Press about the political problematics of hair (as in the Venezuelan film “Pelo Malo” (Bad Hair)) and its fundamental role in the Afro-Caribbean experience, especially for women. She and painter Carla Armour captivated the large crowd at the two shows’ joint launch at the Hastings Arts Forum with highly charged performances of poetry that gave vent to their diasporic experience.

■ For information on HAF visit the gallery at 36 Marina, St Leonard’s TN38 0BU (open 11am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday).
Tel: 01424 201636 or check out: www. hastingsartsforum.co. uk
■ Valerie Grove’s work can be viewed at http://naturestrikesback.com Kate Gritton’s via www.saatchiart.com/ariadne
For more about the above Afro- Caribbean women artists and about Legacy Film Look for #wheelncomeagain on Twitter