Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 25th 2015 Contents "Yes, you
life around it? Does your work
have an impact on anyone s life?"
To answer those questions, Ken-
wyn Murray has gone all in with
Portrait of an Angel.
"My training," he admits, "is
more classical, but I m continu-
ously impressed with what young
people do with their work, how
they put it out there. I m still trying
to catch up with that."
The show lays all his work on
the line, showing intent, approach
and process. It s less a collection
about achievement than it is a
benchmark of progress.
I am here, it says. This is what
I m thinking; this is where I m
It s going to be interesting to see
where Kenwyn Murray ends up.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 25, 2015
• From Page C1
Murray works from photographs as
well as paintings, but he takes some
time to come to terms with each work,
walking away from it and returning to
bring new perspective and understand-
ing to the brush strokes.
This particular work has been in
progress since January, and he smiles
gratefully as he recollects the clients.
"They have been very patient with
me," he said.
Portrait commissions represent much
of his income as an artist, along with
his work at the Carnival Arts Pro-
gramme at UWI.
The works are cheap at his current
prices, but as attractive as they are,
they are only half of what he s showing
in Portrait of an Angel.
His other works are more deliberate
investigations of what it means to, well,
be him in the world.
These paintings may also be portraits
featuring the likenesses of his friends
and family, but they are illustrations
masquerading as portraits, investigating
issues of pride, nobility, heritage and
the soul s beauty.
Quite different aspects of those ideas
arise in the pieces I Am Here and
Sagaboy Parading, featuring King Sailor
In I Am Here, Amanda McIntyre
wears wings and a fitted white dress
bearing a 3-canal and a cocoyea broom
that the artist is still detailing. Her
smile is ironic, her eyes intense, her
intent unmistakable. Prepare to be
swept aside, the image suggests, I m
not here to play.
The portrait of Dyette is almost jour-
nalistic, capturing one of the per-
former s signature moves, a calculated
dance move meant to look like a stum-
bling sway. The masman s face is wry
and knowing, a combination of amuse-
ment, assurance and absolute confi-
Kenwyn Murray began drawing at
the age of two and encouraged by his
parents, he continued with the craft
into his A Levels, where he began map-
ping out a strategy to become a pro-
Things didn t work out.
"I had a partial scholarship," he
recalls, "but it wasn t nearly enough."
Murray admits to being terribly naive
in his understanding of the ways of the
"I really thought that you got a schol-
arship when people saw the work you
were doing and decided to reward you,"
he said with a rueful smile.
"It wasn t until I went to Trinity
College and later at UWI that I began
to understand the kind of systems I
had to work through and milestones
you need to hit before making your
He got close though, and would begin
his studies abroad after the summer of
2001, but after 9/11, the funding for
the course he planned to do was cut.
It was at Trinity that he met art
teacher Patrick Roberts and began to
understand Carnival as an art form.
That led to ten years at the UWI
Carnival Studies programme where he
teaches while pursuing an MPhil with
a focus on Carnival.
"There are so many separations
between the way we consume art,"
"Dance, painting, costuming and
music were all one."
Portrait of an Angel is less the exhibit
of a polished collection of work (several
of the pieces on show are unfinished)
than it is a stake in ground of presence
for Kenwyn Murray as an artist.
"Last year I began to really pursue
this work as a career," he said.
"This is the thing I have to make a
serious play for, and I ve put so much
into other people s projects. You have
to find the money; you have to find
Kenwyn Murray speaks with students of Bishop's Centenary at his exhibit, Portrait of an Angel.
PHOTOS: MARK LYNDERSAY
"Yes, you could paint," he
remembers asking himself, "but what does that
mean? Can you build your life around it? Does
your work have an impact on anyone's life?"
Murray's exhibit shows
progress of an artist
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