Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 29th 2017 Contents B32 sunday arts
guardian.co.tt Sunday, January 29, 2017
STORY AND PHOTOS
BY MARSHA PEARCE
"The art world needs a breath
of new air," said Wesley Kanhai,
the 25-year-old instigator and
administrator of the new Art
6 Gallery in St Clair, Port-of-
The question of how to support
creatives and sell art remains a con-
cern around the world. Debates re-
volve around exploring or abandon-
ing brick-and-mortar gallery models
in a climate of rising operating costs
and the allure of the Internet as an
alternative space for connecting art-
ists and audiences.
Kanhai is a graduate of the UWI
visual arts certificate programme
and an experienced designer---having
worked for roughly a decade on an
array of residential and commer-
cial interiors with Brian MacFarlane
and Roger Myers. He offers the local
market an approach to art with an
attention to bridging divides.
The new gallery is a response to
a power play associated with space.
It is the product of "the outrage of a
young artist trying to do his stuff,"
said Kanhai, "trying to get out there,
yet being turned down because
everywhere is booked. The market
is also structured in a way where it
is about who knows who."
Art 6 Gallery launched early in
January with work by six artists:
Kenwyn Crichlow and Jackie Hink-
son, both identified in the exhibit
as "highlighted artists," Michelle
Boyd and Michelle Tappin, labelled
"established artist and Esther Grif-
fith and Kanhai deemed "emerging
artists." How the categories of an
iconic, established and emerging
practitioner are defined is often a
slippery endeavour but the idea of
showing these three classifications
in one group exhibition is a model
Kanhai plans to hold for future cu-
While the gallery will be open to
solo shows, Kanhai remains com-
mitted to thinking about and mak-
ing connections: "A solo show of art
by an emerging or established art-
ist could be the prequel to a show of
iconic works," he said.
This effort at blurring boundary
lines is also found in his desire to give
greater prominence to art forms not
found as staples in local galleries.
"Art 6 is a place where photography
and film can develop and be respect-
ed more in a gallery setting," he said.
Kanhai's vision is one of tran-
scending a tendency to understand
the visual, sonic and olfactory arts as
silos. The gallery brings visual works
into dialogue with the gentle babble
of water fountains, the aroma of lit
candles,and sound piped through
speakers. Kanhai has also partnered
with Con Brio furniture and home
accents shop to include benches, ta-
bles and other components in order
to add to a multidimensional expe-
rience of art.
This idea of relationships is height-
ened by the fact that audiences must
walk through the gallery to enter Am-
brosia, a new café offering a range of
options from vegan and vegetarian
meals to grass-fed beef dishes and
gluten, soy-and-dairy-free servings.
A beauty bar is also expected to open
next to the gallery.
This proximity of other business
operations invites thought on how to
build audiences for art-feeding into
global conversations about art insti-
tutions and audience engagement.
Education programmes will also be
linked with the gallery. Classes are
planned for the on-site courtyard.
"The classes will heavily work on the
CXC syllabus," Kanhai said.
Keeping the idea of interconnect-
edness in mind, Kanhai is also tying
the physical gallery space with the
digital arena. The initiative called
3x300 (which is still in development)
will be an online feature of Art 6 and,
according to Kanhai, will be an ave-
nue for bringing emerging artists and
emerging collectors together.
Art 6 is a beautiful gallery-skylight
included---with a capacity to host
what Kanhai refers to as a stand-
ing collection. "Works not sold will
float around the building," he said.
Yet, as with all new ventures, there
are aspects that will require further
While the gallery has been estab-
lished to run with a credo of inclu-
siveness, that is, with "a belief that
everyone should be able to afford,
collect, learn and live with art," there
is an air of class tension that cannot
He is working on creating an on-
line presence that is democratic and
accessible but there is still the digital
divide as a challenge to the gallery's
notion of "everyone"
. When asked
about the potential exclusivity of
the space, Kanhai responded: "Our
doors are open to you to make that
• Art 6 Gallery is located at 6 Scott
Street, St Clair, Port-of-Spain. Its
Living With Art exhibition closed
• More info: Email: email@example.com
Ducks by Michelle Tappin.
Artist and managing director of Art 6 Gallery Wesley Kanhai,right and artist Esther Griffith seated with their
paintings. PHOTOS: MARSHA PEARCE
Work by Michelle Boyd, Kenwyn Crichlow and Jackie Hinkson featured in the inaugural show at the new Art 6 Gallery.
of fresh air
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