Friday, December 30, 2011

Museum highlights work of Tobago’s emerging artists

On December 14, the artists of the Tobago Visual Arts Association (TVAA) opened a massive show called Tobago Today at the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port-of-Spain. The show was jointly curated by Daniella Fifi Pryce, Fine Arts curator at the National Museum and Tomley Roberts, visiting curator and president of TVAA. Pryce said the museum was delighted to highlight the work of established professionals and emerging artists of the sister isle. She indicated that the museum was committed to exhibiting the work of artists in Tobago and that Tobago shows would now be a part of the National Museum’s annual calendar of events. 

TVAA artists who participated in the exhibition included Jim Armstrong, Kywayna Shaw Abraham, Nazim Baksh, Joseph Bacchus, Hasani Beckles, Rhuelle Davidson, Anthony Lera, Earl Manswell, Wilcox Morris, Kajah Moses, Jason Nedd, Stephanie Pile, Dillon Richards, Roland Rodney and Tomley Roberts. The show was the beginning of an artistic journey for three emerging artists—Rhuelle Davidson, who does exceptional jewelry and accessories with wool; Kaja Moses, outstanding conceptual artist, art and design past student from Signal Hill Senior Comprehensive; and Hasani Beckles, formerly from Speyside High School, who’s printmaking techniques has gained him much fame. His work is now the benchmark for all CSEC art students doing printmaking in the Caribbean.

TVAA president Roberts commended the museum, which is a part of the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism, for supporting such an initiative that highlighted exceptional work done by local artists. He believes that a show of this magnitude should also be held in Tobago. However, he said this could not  happen because there wasn’t a national gallery in Tobago. Additionally, he stated that gallery that was once used at Fort King George was taken away from the artists, refurbished and then given to the Division of Tourism, to use as office space for a handful of individuals. Roberts believes that in order for us to protect our cultural heritage in Tobago, a cultural policy must be put in place to govern all cultural activities or operations. The relevant infrastructure such as galleries and sacred spaces must also be developed. He said: “There is much talk but in reality our cultural heritage is not being preserved, documented or developed.”

Roberts urged those in authority to invest in a modern art gallery and immediately re-establish the gallery at Fort King George. Such simple gestures can be the beginning to an adventurous journey in the field of arts and culture for Tobago. Tobago Today exhibitions run until January 21, 2012, at the National Museum and Art Gallery.

Additional pieces can also be viewed at the TVAA temporary gallery at Gulf City Lowlands Mall, Tobago

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