Alvaro Barrington

Colby Chamberlain, Artforum, January 1, 2022

Barrington has mapped out a series of exhibitions dedicated to Marcus Garvey, the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and an early proponent of Pan-Africanism, whose biography and philosophy exemplify the geographical coordinates and structures of feeling that sociologist Paul Gilroy has called “the Black Atlantic”—a sense of commonality that is both haunted and held together by the half- forgotten memories of the Middle Passage. Barrington uses Garvey as a prism for viewing the historical dimensions of his own life’s itinerary, which spans Venezuela, Grenada, the United States, and, most recently, the United Kingdom. The colors and imagery of the main room were selected to evoke Garvey’s native Jamaica. An adjoining corridor was lined with small panel paintings in handmade wooden frames that each featured in their title “1916,” the year Garvey relocated to New York. At the exhibition’s conclusion stood Be His Peace (all works 2021), a tapes- try of yarn and burlap attached to
a concrete block and holding aloft three Spalding basketballs couched in milk crates—an apparent nod to the hard-court terrain of Harlem.