Between 2012 and 2018, Albertine Kopp was the Senior Manager of the Davidoff Art Initiative, a corporate arts sponsorship program initiated by the Swiss cigar company Oettinger Davidoff AG. The Davidoff Art Initiative supported over 50 artists, curators, and writers to participate in residencies in the Dominican Republic, New York, Beijing, Basel, and Bogotá. It also awarded grants to over 15 organizations and publications with a focus on Caribbean art. Davidoff also hosted Caribbean artists at Art Basel editions in Miami, Hong Kong, and Basel. Following the dissolution of the Davidoff Art Initiative by the company, Albertine Kopp, András Szántó, and Pablo León de la Barra formed a core team to establish the Caribbean Art Initiative – with support from an artistic committee stemming from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, South Africa, and China. Newly-formed in 2019 as a not-for-profit, the Caribbean Art Initiative will continue to support art exchanges and cultural programs across the Caribbean islands.
C&AL: In what ways is the Caribbean Art Initiative a continuation of, and a divergent from, the Davidoff Art Initiative?
Albertine Kopp: The Caribbean Art Initiative marks a new era and a new program, evolving from the wonderful six years of engagement built up by Davidoff and coupled with the support of great colleagues from all over the world. We have extended our focus now into what we call the “Continental Caribbean”. This means we include the nations that touch the Caribbean Sea, including Costa Rica, Colombia, Panamá, and Venezuela. Residencies and residency exchanges remain the benchmark of our efforts, as we have seen the benefits of these programs to the artists, curators, and other creative people involved. Depending on the velocity and volume of funding, we want to build further complementary programs. As a not-for-profit, we want to promote more visibility and representation for Caribbean art through exhibitions and presence. We are working with partners to look into the possibility of showcasing Caribbean art in all manner of ways. We are also very much interested in doing publications, both print and online, to really offer this visibility to the broadest audience.