Friday, January 12, 2007

Evoking the feeling of island Obeah....

A journey to the dark jungles of Trinidad

A man afraid of his own shadow

The motive behind international artists residencies is for an artist to experience a place much different than his and to also bridge, through their art a cultural exchange that would give a perspective of the place from the visitor's point of view.

The Canada Council for the Arts offers three professional Canadian artists the opportunity to visit Trinidad and Tobago for two months through their partnership with Caribbean Contemporary Arts CCA7. The recipient Paul Fortin was picked from a region of Canada known as Inuvik, Northwest Territories. This Isolated and barren place is located 2 degrees above the arctic circle, and the temperature could drop below minus 36 Celsius.

Most likely, Fortin's venture into this tropical paradise came as a culture shock and his installation is a visual lesson to Trinidad and Tobago particularly by its starkness and bleak outcome. The walls
of the gallery have been transformed into a mystical tropical narrative filled with macabre motifs reflecting on death, confinement and black people. Fortin uses black vinyl as an undercoat to form a filigree of silhouettes that pans the three sides of the gallery, and his cut-work foretells a story of the grappling uneasiness which he may have experienced during his stay.

In most cases, the purpose of producing large installations is to give the illusion of an overwhelming grandeur. A visitor should be abled to walk in a space and be mesmerized by the work. They should leave with having an imprint of some sort of visual memory. But not all installations work out this way no matter how strenuous the artist has tried to convince you otherwise.

A vinyl serpent thebookmann 2007
Wrought iron gates, Maracas waves, lurking skulls and a serpent - The artist has painfully cut vinyl into shapes and patterns, and like temporary site specific installations his laborious efforts would be soon peeled away.

See past recipients: Jamelie Hassan, Bryan Bullen, Stephen Andrews

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