art in all its forms

art in all its forms


A vagrant is now a graffiti artist

Wall at upper Edward Street, Port of Spain.


"Come witness for yourself the record and results of an amazing journey.

EVENT: "From Concrete to Canvas"  
AT: Queen's Hall 
WHEN: April 29 to May 2

Former vagrant/mural (so-called graffitti) artist Clinton Cummings shares the heart-rending, painful and ultimately inspiring story of his challenging journey from the desolate depths of addiction, homelessness, crime and violence towards a clean, purpose-driven, dedicated life of wonder, beauty and hope, on the continuing road to fulfilling his dreams, through this, his first ever official exhibition of his latest works since that life-changing moment less than one year ago when he began to turn his life around.

This remarkable transformation, almost metaphorically reflected in the evolution from crude murals on concrete walls and city streets, to expressions on canvas sheets is a rousing testament to the tenacity of the human spirit.

Grasp the opportunity to own a chapter in this incredible, uplifting story, and in so doing become a part of it by supporting the artist."

Naked people at Alice Yard...again

Still from Diana-Sofia Estrada's 'Ways of Making Love in u.s' (2006) on display today at Alice Yard, Woodbrook, Port of Spain.

For crying out loud just find out more by clicking here! WATCH a teaser of Diana-Sofia Estrada's 'Ways of Making Love in u.s' here.


Open house at Chic Shak

Macramé cord and wood bead belt by Denise Hendrie. Photo coutesy Kerry Samuels-Noel/Chic Shak.

Place: Chic Shak Lifestyle. Jerningham Avenue, Belmont, Port of Spain. 
Dates: Wednesday,28th April 2010 and Saturday, 1st May 2010. 
Time: 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm and 12 noon - 4:00 pm. 

Chic Shak, in Belmont, is starting another 'Meet the Maker' open house series and the first designer for 2010 is Denise Hendrie. To create her fashionable belts and jewellery, Denise uses mainly macramé cord and hemp twine/yarn, embellished with various types of beads. Her pieces are like nothing you’ve ever seen before, so, if you don’t like fading into the background and you like to be different, come meet Denise and see her stuff.

READ more at the Chic Shak blog here

One of Eddie Bowen's favorite paintings

Photo courtesy the artist.

Trinidad 'cross-over' artist Eddie Bowen calls this one of his favorite paintings. It's called 'Ghost of Carnival' (2009) and was shown in a select exhibition of work that opened on April 22 at 29 Syndenham Avenue, St Ann's Port of Spain.

Bowen lists his inspirations as: "the Great Pyramid at Giza, my dad, Leonardo da Vinci, Durer, Ghiberti, Michaelangelo, Shakespeare, living in Trinidad, the Bhagavad Gita, the study of Yoga since 1993, the Psalms, Egyptology, sci-fi, cricket, sacred/ancient architecture, teaching, questions arising from skeptical, objective, analytical, spiritual and speculative enquiry into mankind’s history and evolution, painting, growing trees (the oxygen machines),'outsider' art, world affairs - the environment, Cydonia, architecture."

FIND out more about Bowen at his website here.

From 'The Rock Machines' by Eddie Bowen (c) 1997


Ernie, Elmo and Cookie monster

My seven-year-old nephew was playing with these Sesame Street cards. But he was more interested in the reverse of the cards than the other side with the writing. He scattered them on the floor, with the images and colours facing upwards. I liked how it looked. A puddle of monsters.

Milk at Bohemia

CAISO on Thursday continues its series of movie screenings with The Times of Harvey Milk, a moving and funny Academy Award-winning film about the first openly gay elected official in the US. (This is the original Harvey Milk film, not the Gus Van Sant-directed Sean Penn movie). TIME: 19:00 - 22:00, LOCATION: Bohemia, Woodbrook. Free; donations accepted. Refreshments on sale.


Marlon Darbeau makes shade on the beach

"I have been working on a proposed set design for Mount Irvine Bay Hotel And Golf Club- JAZZ ON THE BEACH 2010 for about 3 months and this weekend things materialized.

Last year I noticed people stayed far away from the stage as there wasn't any shaded area close enough. Working with the idea "SHADE"... this lead to the design of a canopy that felt like the sky came closer. It was both aesthetically appropriate and functional as this year people actually got to lay or sit in the shade near the stage"-Trinidadian design artist Marlon Darbeau.
READ more at Marlon's blog here. SEE an interview with Marlon here.

Erotic Art Week blog

'Eve' by Marilyn Morrison. Exhibited at Island People's 'If House' during
Erotic Art Week 2009.

Erotic Art Week is an annual festival that was conceived by a collective of visual, graphic and performing artists living in Trinidad & Tobago. 2010 will be the second year of the Caribbean's first Erotic Art Week which will run under the theme "Wider". CHECK out the blog here.


Bedside books

It's my birthday and the first gift I got today was White Egrets, the latest collection of poems by Derek Walcott. I've placed it at the top of my pile of bedside books which I've been slowly working my way through for a good few years now. Here is the opening poem from White Egrets:


The chessmen are as rigid on their chessboard
as those life-sized terra-cotta warriors whose vows
to their emperor with bridle, shield and sword
were sworn by a chorus that has lost its voice;
no echo in that astonishing excavation.
Each soldier gave an oath, each gave his word
to die for his emperor, his clan, his nation,
to become a chess piece, breathlessly erect
in shade or crossing sunlight, without hours--
from clay to clay and odorlessly strict.
If vows were visible they might see ours
as changeless chessmen in the changing light
on the lawn outside where bannered breakers toss
and the palms gust with music that is time's
above the chessmen's silence. Motion brings loss.
A sable blackbird twitters in the limes.


If you look carefully at the picture you might also notice Monique Roffey's The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, which was this month shortlisted for the UK's Orange Prize for fiction, and an old copy of VS Naipaul's The Mystic Masseur. Here is the first paragraph from The White Woman on the Green Bicycle:


They took him to the top of Paramin Hill. Right to the top, where there was no one around, where no one could hear him call for help. Four of them. Four to carry out such a job. They wanted to teach him a lesson. He'd no business complaining. So what if the police had stolen his mobile phone, they can damn well take what they like. And poor Talbot -- well --yes. Mixed up with the local thugs, the badjohns up on this hill, the ones causing all the problems. The police already knew Talbot. And now they wanted to teach him not to go making more trouble. 

READ an interview with Monique Roffey here.


Meet Ghislaine Remedios

"I'm reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Forgive the post title. I might be heading in a few years of self imposed solitude myself"--From Brianna Mc Carthy's awesome blog Passion Fruit. CHECK it here.


Kick Ass might be the greatest superhero movie ever made

Kick Ass

It was touching. It was violent. It was VERY good. Kick Ass is the first film in recent memory to turn the conventions of a genre inside out while at the same time managing to maintain earnest dramatic weight in its story line. It's a film about the impossibility of what films often make possible that establishes the possibility of the impossible still (even though its impossible). In other words-the characters get real licks trying to be bad.

The violence is startling, but serves a larger purpose. It exposes the gross realities of what is really involved in "super hero" activity, a reality often glossed over by other films. This approach, combined with some exceptional performances from Nicholas Cage and some lesser known actors, turn this into a must see. Even if just to quell the curiosity factor.

Five stars *****
Sam Worthington in Clash of the Titans

The same cannot be said of The Clash of the Titans which aims to exceed the original film it is based on, but falters dramatically. The original film, an adaptation of the Greek myth of Perseus featuring Harry Hamlin, had a certain charm and civility. Its stop motion animation was charming and still effective. The remake, featuring the pumped-up guy from Avatar, Sam Worthington, aims to be flashy and big and Lord of the Rings-esque. It does not understand how to take its time and cast a spell. All it knows is bombast.

Two and a half stars ** 1/2 


Interview with Orange Prize nominee, novelist Monique Roffey

Novelist Monique Roffey ar Maracas Beach

"I fantasise that Patrick Manning has read my book, even likes it. I also fantasise that he wants to have me shot. If he banned my book, I’d be very proud of myself"--novelist Monique Roffey, author of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, a novel which features a fictional rendering of a well-known Trinidadian politician. The novel was this month shortlisted for the UK's Orange Prize for Fiction.

READ full interview here.

This/discourse/has no/start(middle)nd


I was born at the park Nursing Home, Port of Spain (now St Clair Medical centre) at about 4am on the 24th April 1965. Early memories of Trinidad include a jelly fish invasion at Toco and sitting on a bamboo pole covered in bubbles, not knowing they were jelly fish, ouch. I was sent to a girl’s convent boarding school in the UK at the age of thirteen and have spent my entire life, since then, travelling between the UK and Trinidad. Today, I live in London, where I mostly write and teach creative writing. I recently invited my editor out to Trinidad to launch my second novel, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle at The Reader’s Bookshop, in St James. On the way home from the airport, driving through Maraval, I saw her staring out the window at the hills. I’ve written a lot about the hills which you see everywhere in Port of Spain. …she said: “God, now I see at you mean.” I loved the way she was looking with such awe at Trinidad and she hadn’t even got out of the car. “I still stare too, when I come home,” I said to her. Yeah, I find myself staring a lot in Trinidad, at everything. Funkiest place on earth.


I’m a writer. That’s about all I’m good for. Should the career dry up, I’ll pack up and go see the rest of the world. No other plans.

I write at home, mostly in the mornings. I write in my pyjamas or a twenty-year old pair of track pants which have lost their elastic and are always falling down. I never make my bed till I’ve finished writing: it’s a superstition. A rumpled bed works for me: rumpled up bed = rumpled up brain = good writing head. I write first thing, hair like a haystack, teeth unbrushed, eyes only just unstuck. Tons of coffee and toast. I don’t like to talk to anyone for the first few hours of the day. I lived with a poet for most of last year. He didn’t surface until 2pm most days. He wrote all night so our writing habits matched. I need to write with naked hands, no rings or anything on my fingers. Sometimes, I rub Neutrogena hand cream into my hands while writing: often I stare out the window at the ginger Tom cat who lives opposite and waits for hours to be let in. That cat’s patience has something to do with how I feel about writing. Eventually, he always gets let in.


Electric freckle. I read that in a poem. See? I write because words turn me on. It’s something of a fetish. Words bring me out in spots, in electric freckles. Crunch…banana…dugong…patchouli. I love the phrase ‘Sayonara, baby’. I love formal language and any type of slang, dialect or invented language. I love the language of the young, the old and the crazy. And as for creolised words, don’t get me started. Oh, Geeed, always makes me laugh. Trinidadians are linguistic acrobats.

The truth is a moving target.


Q: Have you ever fantasised about meeting Patrick Manning?

A: Many times. In my fantasies, I win him over and he agrees to give me lots of money to start up a writer’s house in Port of Spain. I fantasise that Patrick Manning has read my book, even likes it. I also fantasise that he wants to have me shot. If he banned my book, I’d be very proud of myself.



Monique Roffey was this month shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction for her novel The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (Simon and Schuster UK). She is also the author of Sun Dog (Scribner). Her third book, an erotic memoir, With the Kisses of his Mouth, will be published in June 2011. She has been an RLF Fellow, Arvon Centre Director and teaches creative writing for English PEN, the MA at Goldsmiths, The Arvon Foundation and Skyros Writer’s Lab. This is what she looks like:
Photo courtesy the artist.

FIND out more about Monique' Orange Prize shortlist here. This/discourse/has/no/start(middle)end is an interview series featuring Trinidad artists. SEE more here.


Meiling, captured by Laura Ferreira

Our favorite ISLAND blog features Laura Ferreira's photographs of designer Meilings 2010 SS collection. CLICK here. For more on an exhibition of Laura's work, see here.

'Making Love' at Alice Yard

Still from 'Ways of Making Love in US' (2006), by Diana-Sofia Estrada. Image courtesy Alice Yard blog and used by that blog with permission of the artist.

Ok so the organisers may be shocked by this post's headline but hey, cheeky headlines are one of the few pleasures of life.


Proximities is a programme of five artists’ videos posing questions about family and domesticity, intimacy and publicity, anxieties and appetites. Curated by artist and Alice Yard co-instigator Christopher Cozier, Proximities explores the medium of video, its immediacy, and its relations with performance, spontaneity, and self-revelation. 

READ more here.


Gay writing in the Antilles

Thomas Glave. Photo courtesy Georgia Popplewell. 

The University of the West Indies on Thursday hosts a reading and discussion on writer Thomas Glave's Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles. 

Featured speakers include novelist Lawrence Scott (author of the rather kinky novel Aelred's Sin) and Colin Robinson (of CAISO). TIME: 5.30pm AT: Daaga Hall Auditorium (no it's not a daggering venue), UWI, St Augustine. Oh, Thomas should be there too.

Bad Lieutenant at StudioFilmClub

God bless Werner Herzog. God bless Nicholas Cage. And God bless, Bad Lieutenant, a film about an amoral anti-hero who, in his depravity, reaches a sublime kind of morality and goodness.

Nicholas Cage is perfect as a sadistic cop who rapes, steals, murders and snorts cocaine, all while trying to keep things (including his relationship with his hot prostitute girlfriend) together.

I need not say much about the plot, except point out that it's post-Katrina New Orleans and that Herzog, that master of composing shots with perfect ratios, is not concerned with postcard-inspired images of the city. There's a tale in this itself, and in the film's important opening and closing scenes.
All of it is very different from (but loosely similar to) the original classic Bad Lieutenant  starring a sexy Harvey Keitel where we think Keitel is really a good man at heart battling conscience. Cage, on the other hand, is clearly a twat. Examine how he stands in his ever so slightly over-sized tailor-made suits, how he stalks down a corridor or sits in a car eyeing his young, drunken prey exiting a nightclub. He's not really seeking redemption. But some is coming his way, anyway.

Screens Thursday at StudioFilmClub, Fernandes Industrial Estate, Laventille. Doors open 7.30pm


On the set of 'The Amerindians'

Photos of the interior of the Santa Rosa RC Church, Arima, which has historic ties to Trinidad's indigenous population the Amerindians, and newspaper clippings about the gradual vanishing of the Carib people. Courtesy Tracy Assing.  

TRACY on Facebook says:

"The tricky thing about this work is it develops as I work on it. Because it is such a big part of my life and the history of the santa rosa carib community is so tied to the history of my own family there have been some great personal challenges. I'd like to think that I have developed along with it.

All my experiences along the way: djaying while wearing my head-dress, performing a smoke ceremony with the assistance of Tillah Willah opposite Whitehall and other adventures.

I don't feel like the story is important to just me or my family or the community of Arima. I feel it is important to the way people view the word indigenous.

If I single myself out as indigenous people sometimes make a fuss and say, but we were all born here. I do not dispute this definition either but for people who really identify with this as a specific heritage there is undeniably a greater connection to the land itself.

What I am really trying to do is raise a consciousness about a love for this land that is not just lip service. Like - get your hands in the dirt, get defensive when it is harmed, raise it, love it up cause you are connected to every river, animal, plant, bird and dragonfly.

It sounds all a bit airy fairy for some people. But I feel that the mix of indigenous peoples and the people who came spread all over this island and as far as the actual history is concerned the record of actual "indios" was not that far back. In addition to the fact that there was continued migration from the mainland from as far back to the times of the Maya to the time of formalized border controls.

So if we were really proud of the great history of this island we wouldn't stand by and watch her get pillaged and burned by anyone. I feel the heat of needing to complete this work every day."

CHECK out videos from this project here.


12 the band at NuBlu, Manhattan NY

Guest blogger
in New York

John Hussain and Sheldon Holder of 12 the band at NuBlu, Manhattan NY

Playing to an intimate audience at NuBlu Bar in Lower East Side Manhattan on Monday night, the conscious fusion band 12 rendered music lovers spellbound with their eclectic medley of calypso-tinged rock hits.

Lead singer Sheldon Holder kicked off the set at 12:12 a.m. (Coincidence? I think not), drawing from 12’s extensive repertoire of hits such as the upbeat love song “Smile” and the politically acerbic“ Mankind.” The usual suspects accompanied him, Johnny Hussain on guitar and Rhys Thompson on drums. However, a guest bassist Jesse Murphy was brought in for this special New York event. In the audience was renowned drummer Jojo Mayer of the band Nerve.

12 played a 48-minute set

Holder, who kinda also did double duty for the night as emcee, gave a very appreciative audience constant positive energy.

"We are humans and we are social creatures from the heart we love and when you cultivate that moment of love…that’s good you know. Keep on planting the seed," he said at one point.

A long-standing patron of NuBlu

The band's ten-song, 48-minute set took a mystical turn with the transcendental hit “Imagination” and closed with a stirring rendition of 12’s biggest hit “Prosper.” Even the usually stolid New Yorkers couldn’t help but rock out to this final masterpiece.


Sheldon acknowledged his newfound fans with some parting words. “Disasters and mishaps aside, we are just visitors here and we would like to meet you,” he said. Something tells me they will be greeted with many New York fans very soon.

Guest PLEASURE blogger Jeanette G. Awai and pal at NuBlu


SPAN in Draconian Switch

Cover of the SPAN issue of Draconian Switch
Draconian Switch is an art and design e-magazine published in Trinidad by Richard Rawlins with the collaboration of a group of artists, designers, and writers. Paramaribo SPAN curators, including Trinidadian Christopher Cozier, invited Rawlins to Suriname in late February 2010 to observe and participate in the opening events of the SPAN exhibition. The result is a special issue of Draconian Switch, which is now available for download. I'm a fan of Draconian Switch, but this issue is ridiculous. Rawlins has created a zine which is as much a work of art as the art it features. HOT!