Where we have come from and where we are going...
Two hundred years of the Chinese presence in Trinidad and Tobago is being commemorated this month at the Clico Gallery in Port of Spain, and also at The Public Archives. On view are images of the ancestors of five Trinidadian families dating back to six generations and brief stories of how they came to Trinidad and Tobago. The curator, Sonja Dumas has taken great care to make this show interesting to the public, with the assistance of Gary Chan and Jeffrey Chock. The photographs are reverently displayed under softlighting along the corridor of the narrow gallery and separated by decorative Chinese coins wrapped insignature red ribbon. There are also documents and objects. For example, the accounting system for the Lee Lum store that produced a special minted coin that was put into circulation in La Brea, Trinidad in 1890 to 1906 as a form of legal tender.
The bookman was quite touched to see a picture of one of his relatives, he was unaware of that particular person until he read the name. He had never seen the image before. It was a piognant moment to say the least. You come away from the exhibition aware of the very hard and selfless work of all who were brought here,or came for an arranged marriage or to work the plantations, yet, no matter what the circumstances were. We know that everyone came with the hope tore-built their lives, lives that would help make the small Republic of Trinidad and Tobago stronger, and for that we are all grateful. Shows like this are very important and must continue to be presented. We need to be more aware of our history as a nation, but moreso, we need to get the message that everyone has struggled and worked to make our islands what they are today, and we should be proud of all efforts made, no matter if it is the effort of a man in khaki pants on a donkey or a woman in a pinstriped suit in an SUV. - Adele
Top: Photographs from five Trinidadian families dating back to six generations. Centre: Memorabilia showing legal documents. Bottom: Bottom: The China Roots; Trinidad Branches. Clico Gallery, Trinidad. Exhibition ends 1st, December, 2006. see the Chinese Laundry post