From raw to refined: Edouard Duval-Carrié’s Sugar Conventions (2013)

Lesley Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article argues that Sugar Conventions (2013), an unstudied, mixed media work by the Haitian-born artist Edouard Duval-Carrié, challenges established notions of Eurocentric visuality to locate creolization as a process entangled with, though historically veiled through, canonical Western image production. By destabilizing and denaturalizing Eurocentric conceptions of originality, ‘whiteness,’ and colonialism, Sugar Conventions negotiates the consequences of sugar cultivation and its product, ultimately raising new questions about the complicity of images in producing and obscuring colonial dynamics. To consider the myriad ways in which Sugar Conventions medially and figuratively elevates the physical, moral, and material costs of sugar, this article looks to the three layers, rendered on Plexiglas, that together comprise the work. This article suggests that each layer–background, middle ground, and foreground–negotiates visual, medial, and cultural tensions, which illuminate processes of creolization through the very forms and subjects that construct and perpetuate it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-374
Number of pages20
JournalAfrican and Black Diaspora
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2019


  • Caribbean
  • contemporary art
  • creolization
  • diaspora
  • sugar


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