While traditional definitions of the field only recognise Fine Art, today other forms creative visual expression have been placed in this category including hand craft and applied arts such as interior design, fashion and Industrial design. Over the past ten years Visual Arts is a field of study that has been consistently growing.
Visual Arts has been incorporated into our schools curriculum. The Ministry of Education in 2008 held a film competition for Secondary school children and local entertainment centre MovieTowne has an on-going competition with both of these geared to help mould and shape the creativity of our students and to expose them to the industry first hand.
The film industry is one that is highly sought-after around the world because it creates meaningful jobs and by its nature, infuses the economy with broad-based spending across a wide spectrum of businesses, not to mention the ‘free’ publicity and marketing that Trinidad and Tobago will surely gain.
In our time, film is the most pervasive form of communication and entertainment. Despite geographical, social and economic barriers many of us at one time or another idolized those on the big screen and for those minutes or hours we were transported to another realm, another dimension.
Whether it be those in front of the camera or those behind the camera we all have our favorites. In the past it may have been a Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Rex Harrison, Gene Tierney and Liz Taylor. Now it’s Daniel Day Lewis, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Charlize Theron or Keira Knightly.
Even social no-no’s that were frowned upon such as wall graffiti is now being embraced as a way of creative expression and used as an avenue especially for our youth to channel their creativity.
The seven galleries of the National Museum house some of the country’s best artwork, and a number of other fine galleries showcase new work. The Museum (623-5941) has a small representative collection of local art which is on show for most of the year, and a collection of watercolours by the country’s leading 19th-century painter, Michel Jean Cazabon.
The Art Society has an annual show in November of new work that includes paintings, drawings, and sculpture. The society also organises plein-air painting sessions in picturesque venues, mostly in the dry season of course.
Art exhibitions take place year round, and primarily between Easter and Christmas, at several established galleries and other venues that might include an artist’s home, a restaurant, or the lobby of a corporate headquarters.
There is a significant art market, and a number of notable local artists. Landscape features very prominently in a lot of local painting, but there’s also abstract and avant-garde work to be seen. Names to look for: MP Alladin, Sybil Atteck, Ralph and the late Vera Baney, Isaiah Boodhoo, Edward Bowen, Carlisle Chang, Leroy Clarke, Chris Cozier, Ken Crichlow, Jasmine Girvan, Jackie Hinkson, Paul Llanos, Dermot Louison, Che Lovelace, Shastri Maharaj, Wendy Nanan, Lisa O’Connor, Shalini Seereeram, Peter Sheppard, Irénée Shaw, Sundiata, Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, and Noel Vaucrosson, to name but a few; and the late Michel-Jean Cazabon, Pat Bishop, and Boscoe Holder.
Source for section on Fine Art: “Trinidad Arts & Culture: An Overview, Discover Trinidad & Tobago. Reproduced with permission from MEP Publishers.