Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A benchmark – Art and Design 2007

Launched into the World of Art and Design under the guidance of......

In the small foyer that leads you to the steps to the courtyard of the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago, there are a list of artists, teachers and curators tastefully pinned up on the wall. Side by side, the pages give a brief synopsis of each artists and concepts behind their work.

This is the twentieth anniversary of the Art programme at the University of the West Indies, and the graduating class 2007 have put forward their best
foot. Both the Annex and the upper floors of the National gallery are used for the occasion, and the show has been carefully curated to give each artists the opportunity to put their work in its best light, no matter their degree of proficiency . This exhibition is rather important for students who may consider to pursue art as a career, noting that this is a three-year degree.

It is an eye opener for a public who may be squeamish about political correctness or sexually and one must realize that it is only a student show, and the urge to bring change and move mountains is at the heart of their passion. There is a phallic totem pole dealing with HIV, but it is far less the centre of interest and perhaps too literal. A light box pulls some weight and two bamboo structures have a complex interweave to sustain itself.

What is positive about this show is that every student has been given the opportunity to exhibit their work within the parameters of the gallery. The pieces are diverse, and they are up to the possibilities of being seen. The show also has a raw energy to it that gives hope to students from different backgrounds to have the means to express themselves if not with words or actions but with art. Art and Design 2007 - The University of the West Indies student exhibiton runs until 6th May at the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago. - thebookmann

The University of The West Indies Arts Department has launched a show of works in several media by graduating students. It is a loose version of what was required every semester at my alma mater, Pratt Institute. Students were required to present the very
best of the school term and were given spaces in which to present. So the objective was twofold. You could not just have good work, you also had to know how to present it. At this student show, one person caught my attention in particular. Her name is Lata Randeo. What struck me was something that is almost illusive. She chose to look at the role of Islam in Trinidad and its perceptions by the public of the burka wearer.

I took a look at her sketchbook and was not surprised to see that she referenced Mona Hatoum, who is of Palestinian origin but a British citizen. Ms. Hatoum’s work is powerful and unforgettable, she brings awareness to the image of the Muslim woman. See her work from the Tate collection The student has cause to be interested in her work. Yet what I found from what she presented, was someone actually searching to bring meaning to her observations and experiences, not just using references and piggy backing on them, as many other works presented seemed to do. I believe that when this student continues to pursue to exhibit, that the growth of her work shall be eagerly anticipated if she continues along her present course. I know that I shall be looking forward to her next steps. Adele

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