In the call and response tradition located throughout the Black diaspora, artists and writers Llanor Alleyne and Nyugen E. Smith combine prose and poetry to critically engage topics of invisibility, tourism, sites of memory, and the value of the arts. The Guard is the culmination of their collaborative intervention with the Barbados Museum and Historical Society (BMHS).
During the intervention and throughout the book, a barefoot Smith positioned himself as the museum’s sole guard over a five-hour period as Alleyne, in her role as “Professional Staff”, observed and documented interactions between museum visitors and The Guard.
The Guard’s publication examines what it means to actively inhabit a place rooted in a past in which your marginalized ancestral presence underpins all that is on display. Throughout the publication, Smith and Alleyne explore the corporeal and spiritual effects of holding space on a site. Deliberately ignored and excitedly discovered over the course of the intervention, Smith and Alleyne offer insight into what it is to be living ghosts with an interplay of two voices made singular by the act of remembering. Each author weaves a line from the present to the past and back again while acknowledging their bodies as interloping vessels of time and possibility.