Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alice Bangi

alice bangi sketch

Richard Rawlins's design sketches for the Alice Bangi

Visiting Suriname at the end of February for the Paramaribo SPAN exhibition, Alice Yard collaborator Richard Rawlins was inspired by artist Roberto Tjon A Meeuw's Fatu Bangi project.

A fatu bangi is a traditional item of outdoor furniture often found on roadsides in rural Suriname. "Bangi" is the Sranan word for bench, and "fatu" means big, but also refers to an informal gathering of friends, a lime. Often made from scrap wood, the fatu bangi is a big bench for liming--a spot to sit and observe the world go by, share stories and ideas.

Read it all here

Friday, March 19, 2010

Renowned local dancer: ‘NAPA an ornate twig’

By Andre Bagoo Friday, March 19 2010

ACCLAIMED dancer Dave Williams, who performed at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain last year, yesterday described aspects of the design of NAPA as “dangerous” for dancers as he criticised the building as being “nothing more than a very ornate twig.”

In a statement on defects of the building, Williams, a renowned choreographer, also revealed new details of defects in the building which has been criticised by the Artists Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) in a report.

read it all here in the Newsday

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Picture of the Day

Holy Name Annual Art Exhibition 2010

(detail) Joka- Jeunisse Nunez


The exhibition continues at Holy Name today until 5pm and tomorrow during school hours and until 5pm.

I got an invitation sent to me via e mail, and decided to attend the Annual Holy Name Art Exhibition. I wanted to be there for Richard's address, and Irenee Shaw, the art teacher there, is a friend of mine. I've admired her work as a painter for many years, and remember turning green with envy when I learnt that she would be teaching at Holy Name: if only she could have taught me 'A' level art instead of the wholly uninspired teacher I'd had when I went to St Joseph's Convent in the early 90s!

Art Teacher, Irenee Shaw, addresses the audience and gives introductions.

An Exploration of the Human Body by Victoria Lum Kang

The exhibition at Holy Name is of the work of form five and sixth form students, and it occupies the entire main hall of the school - quite an achievement in itself, when you think of how much work it is. What strikes me most about the work on display is its enormous range. Of course, there are lots of examples of what you'd find in high school shows - drawings and paintings. Many of the imaginative compositions are exciting - like the two sides of "Alice" (which also includes papier mache 3-dimensional elements) a speculation, perhaps, on Alice's alter ego: the pole dancer! The scale of works like "God Bless America?" is bold and adventurous. There are a huge selection of three-dimensional objects and sculptures, made of clay, bent wire, cardboard, fabric and sequins. As someone who's all-too-aware of the conventions of high school art and it's intractable relationship with drawing and painting, it's the objects in the Holy Name exhibition that are the most exciting and heartening. They are curious, thought-provoking, and outright quirky (my favourite piece is "Jorge the Frog" with his glittering be-sequined body and pierced tongue!) and whimsical.

I definitely think this is an exhibition worth taking a slow walk around. There's a little something in here for everyone. Irenee says that all her sixth form graduates so far have gone on to study and or work in creative fields. It's no wonder! To take a few words from Richard's address - the most important thing is that they continue to make work.

Mariel Brown
March 16th, 2010

Artist/Designer Richard Rawlins gave the feature address at the Exhibition.
Below are excerpts of that address:

Ms. Universe washerwomen and fisherfolk
How many of you have at least at one time in your life seen a painting of a long black woman,(that looks like Wendy Fitzwilliam) with a Hibiscus in her hair washing clothes by a waterfall or river? Yes. All of you. How many of you have seen at least one painting of a fisherman pulling seine by the beach with a dog walking aimlessly in front of a little shack? Exactly. Too much of you. How many paintings of long black women with hibiscus in their hair washing clothes by the river and fishermen pulling seine on the beach with a dog walking aimlessly in front of a shack do we really need? Just imagine if you will that in about a thousand years ago or so that some aliens dug up Trinidad and Tobago...they would probably think, (say it with me here)...Yep, that we were a nation of long black women that looked like Wendy Fitzwilliam with a Hibiscus in their hair washing clothes by waterfalls and fishermen pulling seine by the beach in front of shacks where dogs walked aimlessly by. Thank god this exhibition has none of those.
Richard Rawlins

In the Bacchanal by Ardisha Atwell

(detail) God Bless America by Sacha Singh

Record the relevance
Your job as an artist is to record the relevance of your time. Not somebody else's time but your time and with imagination.
Richard Rawlins

Two faces of Alice

I used to be good in art
You know how many people say that 'I used to be good in art in when I was in school ?" Then they become accountants and lawers or whatever and they stop. Never make work life.
They just look on from the side lines. Your job as an artist is to make work and make lots of it. Keep making work. Don't worry whether it's good or not don't obsess over it. Just make work. There are people who will obsess over it for you. They are called art writers and critics. That's their job. Your job is to make work
. Richard Rawlins

(detail) Jorge-The Frog by Shandelle Loregnard

I walk through mime fields
I recently attended an artshow in Suriname at the corporate headquarters of a bank. The bank was responsible for the decor and the artist responsible for the mounting of their work. The decor included lights on everything over a foot on the ground, pink butterflies, stretched fabric and mimes. Oh god mimes, juggling mimes, a moko jumbie mime, a unicycle mime etc. Corporate types always think that artists and creative people appreciate mimes. But yuh know what? We don't like mimes at all. I've often felt that much like how the Israeli's make their people do selective service so that if the state of Israel is under attack everyone could pull a little gun do a something, creative people should have to do selective corporate service, so that when these opportunities come around there would be a creative person or an artist there to say no to the mimes and stretch fabric and be able to give some proper guidance.
Richard Rawlins

I am an artist and I am proud
And for those of you who chose to be be artists and go on being artists, be proud of yourselves. You are here for a reason. You've made it this far for a reason. Artist are among the brightest and the smartest people on the planet. You should feel very proud to be one.
Richard Rawlins

The Artists

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Alice Yard team in Suriname

alice yard crew

Sean Leonard, Christopher Cozier, Nicholas Laughlin, and Richard Rawlins of Alice Yard at the Moiwana Monument, Marowijne, Suriname; 28 February, 2010. Photo by Jurgen Lisse

Four members of the Alice Yard team recently spent a week in Suriname, participating in activities around the Paramaribo SPAN project, a conversation about contemporary art in Suriname. SPAN includes three platforms: an exhibition, which opened on Friday 26 February, 2010, and runs until 14 March; a book published in three language editions; and a blog which is both a journal and an archive.

Alice Yard co-instigators Christopher Cozier and Nicholas Laughlin are, respectively, co-curator of the SPAN project and editor of the SPAN blog. Visiting Paramaribo for the opening events of the SPAN exhibition, they were accompanied by Alice Yard founder Sean Leonard and partner Richard Rawlins, the publisher of Draconian Switch.

Paramaribo SPAN is conceived in part as a bridge connecting artists and other creative practitioners in Suriname with their contemporaries elsewhere in the Caribbean. This trip offered many formal and informal opportunities for the Alice Yard team to explore common ideas, interests, and goals, and begin planning future collaborations. Apart from the SPAN exhibition opening and other events in Paramaribo, the Alice Yard team visited the town of Moengo, east of Paramaribo, where artist Marcel Pinas has founded an art park and art education centre. Sean spent two days in Moengo investigating Marcel's project, and conceptualising ways for himself as an architect and Alice Yard as an institution to support and collaborate with Marcel's Kibii Foundation.

Other Alice Yard team members engaged creatively with the SPAN project in different ways. Nicholas, who is also co-editor of the literary magazine Town, published a special issue coinciding with SPAN, and Richard has collected material for an upcoming SPAN issue of Draconian Switch. And Alice Yard has started conversations about hosting Surinamese artists in Trinidad as part of our modest residency programme.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Click here for the page:

Click here to download:

This issue features the work of artists: Akuzuru, Khalil Deane, Simone Leigh, Jaime Lee Loy, Christina Leslie, Dave McKenzie, Maxine Walters, Nari Ward and Jay Will

Rockstone & Bootheel
curated by Kristina Newman-Scott and Yona Backer, includes works of 39 artists from the West Indies and the diaspora, focusing on artists from the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Real Art Ways is one of the leading contemporary arts organizations in the United States, with a record of linking artists, innovation and community. Programs include visual arts, with exhibitions, public art projects, and artist presentations; cinema, with independent and international films 7 nights a week; music; performance; literary events; community and educational programming.