Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 30th 2015 Contents B2
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, September 30, 2015
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Port of Spain: October 27-30, 2015
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accredited by the Mediation Board of T&T.
At first glance it looks too easy, sophomoric
even, but over time the work of a group of
young artists at the recently concluded
(S)HOW at Medulla Art Gallery begins to
resonate. The exhibition flows into an engag-
ing, contemporary narrative on ironies that
are at once personal and yet highly political.
The kaleidoscopic images by Tamara Tam-
Cruickshank Untitled 8 shows Port-of-Spain s
built heritage sites resembling colourful, jack-
in-the-box replicas, buildings either on the
brink of crumbling or with perfectly restored
facades and comically empty interiors. Sim-
ilarly, the carefully moulded match boxes cov-
ered in plaster and stacked carefully, if some-
what haphazardly, into a Lilliputian wall of
sorts, by Alicia Milne, is one of the more mem-
orable works that signals the move towards
change and structure.
A walk around the Savannah would show
you that these works capture realities that hit
close to home---from the once Magnificent
Seven to the green galvanise that protects the
crumbling Presidential Palace below. We are
a people that have a dysfunctional passive-
aggressive relationship with our colonial history.
The architectural irony runs deep in the real
world. In fact, Medulla is owned/managed by
curator Martin Mouttet and architect Geoffrey
MacLean and housed in a building of another
colleague. It seems almost unreal how simple
the parallels are of the progressive collapse of
a society and the destruction of iconic build-
ings. In fact, the entire exhibition has at its
core the building up or breaking down of ide-
ologies, institutions or communities and then
ends with the personalised destruction of the
family---just look at the disturbing photos of
Jamie Lee Loy s---reminiscent of an eighties
horror flick, "pan to the wall of photos, camera
close-up of the polaroids with the familial
faces carefully bleached or scratched-out,
music heightens/fade to black."
Equally dramatic is the serif installation of
type with the word "Sorry" constructed with
rose petals, that by the time I saw the exhibit
the flowers had dried and left dark red rem-
nants on the floor, also by Lee Loy.
Certainly, after the grueling past few months
of political campaigning, one realises that even
the politicians began to sense that the nation
not only called for accountability, but a simple
apology, on both sides. For some that came,
but it was a little too late. Up north, even
Hillary Clinton also sought to apologise for
her private email-gate catastrophe, with a
simple "I m sorry", yet her ratings continue
In contrast, one of the stand-out technical
pieces is a collection of small portraits in ink,
pen and pencil on paper by Luis Vasquez La
Roche, a talented artist who continues to cap-
ture unique images of young black men in
various poses, showing a range of emotions,
from rage to reflection. A clean, technically
adept, singular view of the individual that
pushes-up against the flowery imagery of the
wall of apology, that is placed obliquely oppo-
site. The exhibit has a tension between the
seemingly uncovered, embellished, "pretty"
pieces and the well-wrought, angst-driven,
works that have been curated with an effective
ebb and flow.
All good art is prophetic and brings a cathar-
tic element, and while this group of collab-
orators are still experimenting with style and
mastering technique, they are surely plugged-
in to the local realities of abuse, crime and
neglect in our country.
The Chinese artist and former political pris-
oner, Ai Wei Wei, who in his current exhibit
at the National Gallery, London, has an instal-
lation that interprets his time spent in a jail
cell surrounded by guards, says his work is
not political but personal. Perhaps this can
be said about all art, but this group exhibit
is powerful in not only its satire, but its ability
to capture the realities we live with in T&T
and the battering we face daily, in a very subtle,
Young artists exhibit political theme
Sorry and But you don't look me in the eye anymore, by Jaime Lee Loy, rose petals and bridal
silk pins 2015, photographic reprints and household chemicals.
365 by Luis Vasquez La Roche, mixed media on paper 2014 - 2015.
PHOTOS COURTESY MEDULLA GALLERY
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