Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 27th 2015 Contents The T&T Film Festival s New Media exhibit on
the works of the late Peter Dean Rickards drew a
large crowd of appreciative viewers not only from
T&T but the Caribbean, especially his native
The photos and films shown were beautifully sim-
ple, almost stark, evoking a range of emotions from
laughter and nostalgia to disgust and sadness. The
exhibit was shown at StudioFilmClub, Fernandes
Industrial Complex, Laventille, on September 17.
The seven short films, running a total of 17 minutes,
showed different aspects of Jamaica.
Ambush showed a young black girl, Mariah, dancing
quietly to music. I Had That Dream Again was very
surreal, with a man smoking a cigar suddenly being
confronted by a woman dancing on the roof of a
house. Solaris, showing a woman lounging on a beach
alone, contrasted drastically with the manic energy
of Stone, with singer Terri Lyn. Kingston 1996 and
Proverbs 24:10 looked at different aspects of dancehall
culture, while the final film, Friday, July 13, 2012---
Ninjaman at Exodus, showed a snippet of Rickards'
work with the Jamaican DJ.
During the slideshow of Rickards' photographic
work, one of his closest friends and one of the man-
agers of his artistic estate, Ross Shiel, gave a moving
tribute to the photographer, filmmaker and story-
"His work was a rare, sharply focused eye-view
into Jamaica's culture and daily life. He could be dark
or he could find optimism in the gloom, could make
you laugh or could make you cry, or all at the same
time. We think a lot of it came from being born in
Jamaica but raised since his teens as an immigrant
in Canada. It gave him a different perspective on the
nuances, the weirdness of different cultures, especially
his own; and together with his innate fascination
perhaps made it so much easier for him to see what
the rest of us wouldn't or maybe, couldn't."
Sheil said Rickards was apprehensive when he was
first invited to T&T four years ago, because of the
perceived antagonism which exists between the two
countries but, Sheil said, "Rickards really enjoyed
the experience and his eyes were opened by the size
of the creative community in Trinidad and the appre-
ciation for his work and other people's work as well."
"I worked with him since 2004, and in many ways
he showed me a different side of Jamaica from what
I saw as a journalist. Maybe in Jamaica we self-
stereotype ourselves too much; we tend to go after
the same hype as everyone else and I think his work
struck a nerve overseas as well because people always
suspected or wanted to see a more diverse represen-
tation of Jamaica and he was someone who could
"He could write really well, he was a photographer,
a videographer and even had a project webcasting
sound systems from a basement called Kingston Sig-
nals, which was pretty amazing in the days of dial-
up Internet. He was someone who just really enjoyed
taking daily life and making stories and narratives
out of it, in whatever the medium.
"I know there are many people, including younger
artists who are coming up now, and it's remarkable
and interesting how many say they were influenced
by him in some way. That shows we do have room
for diversity and real representations that don't have
to be sugarcoated, or deny how our society really is.
He had a pretty wicked sense of humour as an artist
and could be cutting and controversial at times. I
think that him going was a loss to Jamaica and the
country was a bit more boring as a result, because
there wasn't this representation."
Sheil said this is his first time coming to the T&T
Film Festival and he was amazed by "the level of
organisation that's gone into it, the amount of
Caribbean films they've sourced, not just from the
English-speaking Caribbean; it's quite remarkable.
It says something that here's a Jamaican filmmaker
who didn't get invited by the Jamaican Film Festival
but they're showing his work at the T&T Film Fes-
"There are still some projects of his that we, the
managers of his estate, have to finish so this event
is very encouraging as we do that work. There was
an unfinished documentary project with Ninjaman,
and we want to restart FIRST Magazine."
Rickards started FIRST Magazine as a print pub-
lication in 2004; it went digital after four issues
before going on "indefinite hiatus" in 2010, according
to the magazine's website. The site includes a Vanity
Fair write up saying FIRST "has won a hefty cult
following among the funkier echelons of the inter-
national jet set," and that "FIRST set out to give
Jamaicans a uniquely authentic portrayal of their
Sheil continued, "It's cool that this is going on
and it's appreciation of work from other Caribbean
islands which is what it should all be about; we're
not really that big to draw those lines for something
like this. I think it's a really awesome achievement
by the organisers."
• The works of Peter Dean Rickards can be
found at www.afflictedyard.com and
www.peterdeanrickards.com. New Media
closed last night with a showing by Rodell
Warner at Big Black Box, Woodbrook.
Tribute to a
Film Festival pays tribute to
His obituary describes Jamaican visu-
al artist Peter Dean Rickards as "pho-
tographer, filmmaker, cyber-artist and
cutting edge author." Rickards, who
died December 31, 2014, was memo-
rialised as part of the T&T Film Fes-
tival s New Media show. PAULA LINDO
Peter Dean Rickards (right) with Peter Doig at StudioFilmClub, 2010.
Links Archive September 26th 2015 September 28th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page