The third edition of the Tout-Monde Festival, Caribbean contemporary arts Festival in Miami, will be titled CONTINENTUM. This title seems to be a priori opposed to the idea of ​​the Caribbean, more often associated with an insular or archipelagic space, and composed of diverse mixed or creolized identities. The title also seems to contradict the father of the Tout-Monde, Édouard Glissant, Martinican poet, author and philosopher (1928-2011), referred to as the “thinker of the archipelagos”[1]. Glissant himself claimed, when crossing the Atlantic on a liner, that he was “not an Atlantist, nor a continental”[2]. For Glissant, the Caribbean archipelago represents the crossing, the opening to the ocean, to others, to the world, while the continents are “masses of intolerance quickly turned towards one Truth”[3]. The title CONTINENTUM finally suggests the Latin authority of a “Roman peace imposed by the force of (…) an all-powerful, totalitarian, caring Empire”[4].

Yet the archipelagic Caribbean cannot be thought without the continent, and the continent cannot breathe without the archipelic thought. Indeed, beyond the geological continuity between insularity and continent, the Caribbean is also the result of a historic encounter between three continents, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Centuries of continental domination have led Glissant to call for an “archipelization” and others for a “decontinentalization” of the world. These calls allow us to take a new look at the Caribbean, in its combined formation, insular and continental, possibly promoting the emergence of a new continent, the Caribbean continent: the CONTINENTUM.

CONTINENTUM invites us to examine how contemporary Caribbean art explores this relationship between islands and continents: do artistic expressions reflect a sense of belonging to one or another, or rather of continuity? How do artists perceive each other on both sides? How do they strive to respond to the Glissantian call for an “archipelization” of the world, to become one, and to give form and voice to this new Caribbean continent? Artists and curators are invited to submit projects to examine these questions and to imagine the CONTINENTUM, as utopia or close reality.

A background note for further details on the theme and related concepts is available here:



[1]Aliocha Wald Ladowski, Edouard Glissant, penseur des archipels, Edition Pocket, 2015
[2]Mantia Diawara, Conversation with Edouard Glissant aboard the Queen Mary II, 2009
[3]Edouard Glissant, Poétique IV, Traité du Tout-Monde, Edition Gallimard, 1997