Sunday, April 09, 2006

The humble roadposters at SWWTU Hall

Ah, the humble roadposter. One of the major reasons we began our interest in public art all those years ago. Where else can you learn names like Joey Lewis, SWWTU Hall, Rennie B’s Birthnight Bash and other choice signage over the years that whether you went to the ‘bashment’ or the black and white ball, you knew that if you happened to pass by SWWTU you had to look in to see who was wearing what and why. The SWWTU Hall itself says ‘old people teaching young people a ‘ting or two, or tree! I never imagined any reason to go to SWWTU as a teenager. As I got older and wanted to go to Kitchener’s Tent which is situated at SWWTU, only then did I venture in at all, and what an experience it is. It is a very nostalgic space. All it is really is a big hall, but the people make it nostalgic by their dress and their attitude as you can see traditions being passed on before your very eyes. However the Hall is not the only advertiser of fetes. There is the Fireman’s fete every Carnival. There is Soca by the Silo’s, WASA Fete and other signage. In the 1980’s and 90’s the signs got so Large that they caused debate. The signage is also accompanied by very overly colour saturated. Loud and sometimes lewd party invitations. But I believe that that taste is generational and belongs to the group 35 and under.

The SWWTU set get invitations that look like old fashioned ‘garden party’ stock of heavy solid card in colours like baby pink or baby blue or yellow and say things politely, like,’You are cordially invited…” But that is a whole other discussion that shall be left for later. These posters are always written in bright colours in Sans Serif type. My particular interest in them comes from the quirky things that happen on them. Sometimes dates change and some reworking has to take place as in the case of the Emancipation Ball poster. I like to see as well the sign painters attempts to squeeze as much as possible into the space without making the poster completely unreadable. These posters came upon criticism recently when it was brought to the publics’ attention that many of them are tacked up on telephone polls which is actually illegal. I have grown up seeing these posters all year long, so this new interest in their placement struck me as curious. They are as common and expected as the weather itself. How much the party planners have heeded the laws remains to be seen. This signage talks about a whole industry that goes by unacknowledged, but represents a very big part of the Trinidad aesthetic. - Adele

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