Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox

Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco

An exploration of the Caribbean identity through the work of 10 contemporary artist. The legacy of European colonialism in the Caribbean is explored through the work of 10 contemporary artists: Angel Otero, Adler Guerrier, Phillip Thomas, Leonardo Benzant, Lucia Hierro, Lavar Munroe, Andrea Chung, Ebony Patterson, Didier William, and Firelei Báez. Their work is inspired by products that have historically been produced in and exported from the Caribbean. The book, published to accompany a traveling exhibition opening at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora, explores the complexity of the “postcolonialism paradox”―in which colonizers often felt superior and productive as they claimed territory for themselves while subjugating indigenous people and exploiting their land. Whether connected to the Caribbean by birth or by choice, the artists use their work as a means of examining the relationships within the power structure.


“Those alive to ever-present signifiers of enslavement and colonialism have to look no further than the average bottle of rum. For the labels either contain supposedly comforting artistic renderings of benevolent plantation scenes, or these labels boldly and proudly declare that the product has a centuries-old manufacturing pedigree. We don’t have to do much speculating as to what sorts of people were obliged to do pretty much all of the work.”

— Eddie Chambers, from his catalog essay Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox. Some Considerations


Published to accompany the group exhibition at Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco, 8 May - 11 August 2019.


ISBN: 9781944903763

Publisher: Cameron Books