Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jackie Hinkson's Studio, Alice Yard and Old Mas Competition

If you click the title you'll be taken to the blog for Alice Yard, a creative collaborative space in Woodbrook. Last night 12, a band, were rehearsing in the recording studio while there was an opening for Wendell Mc Shine, a Trinidadian artist who has been living in Mexico for a while. I met Chris Cozier there, another Trinidadian artist, to catch up on what we've both been doing. My friend Melanie came as well. I have to get a photo of her as very often we're together.

Earlier in the day I visited the studio of Jackie Hinkson, an artist of formidable talent, born in Trinidad and Tobago. Many of the works in his studio I had never seen before. He is well known in Trinidad and perhaps the Caribbean for his paintings in oil and watercolor, many of them depicting the old Trinidad and Tobago, but he has a large body of work dealing with other things that interest him. Curiously enough, this is not the first work to sell. People here seem to want the easily digestible, the familiar, the pretty, the nostalgic. Jackie has much more to offer a discerning collector than this. His Christ in Trinidad series featuring 14 paintings inspired by passages in the Bible as well as art historical references such as Theodore Gericault's Raft of the Medusa, exemplify this type of investigation and depth in his work.

After Alice Yard Melanie took me to the Old Mas Competition in Victoria Square. It's easier to wear those "real" costumes at night as they are heavier and would be hot in the sun. Traditional costumes like The Midnight Robber and Poor Abandoned Mother vied with Indians and Jammets for attention. I met an interesting American couple, friends of Melanie, who lived and worked in Trinidad. The man, Nicholas, was born in Trinidad and having lived all over the world, and when he sought some place to settle down said he had a feeling to return to Trinidad. I think this is true for many people who lived here as children and would perhaps explain people like Peter Doig moving back. The island has this unexplainable allure for those who have experienced it through the eyes of a child. With all its social problems right now it is still a beautiful place.

I went to Corner Bar after Alice Yard and hung out with Chris Leacock again. My cousin and her husband joined us. I took a photo of a policeman in uniform there. He had a huge gun and when I said it looked scary he said it would look scarier in the hands of criminals. I guess he's right!

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