Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 13th 2014 Contents A12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, January 13, 2014
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My name is Gregory Williams
and I m a painter who works with other
artists to help stage their shows.
My mother died when I was five.
I had a younger sister and the baby
was months old. My father put us
in the orphanage. My grandmother,
who lived on Nelson Street came
and took us after only a few days.
But the nuns told her the baby had
died. I don t know if that was true.
They may have given my little brother
up for adoption. I m 62 now so maybe
he s still alive or not alive.
My father visited us twice. He
brought ice cream and chocolate
the first time. The second time, he
said he was going England and
would write. One day a woman my
age from the States showed me a
letter written by my father from
Panama to his father. It said he d
been there three months and hadn t
gotten work. That was the only other
connection I had with my father. It
seemed he went to Panama and
dropped off the face of the world after
My grandmother was strict.
There was no big set of fondness
between us. But I call that a gift.
Everybody is emotionally attached to
their parents; but I was spared that.
There were some white people
living in the front house and there
was a long walkway to a yard,
where we lived, in one room. There
were three other one-room apartments,
where other families lived. And one
outside toilet. Most of the time, I would
be alone in that yard.
I remember a cupboard and cloth
like a curtain in front. I remember
I had a box of matches. It started
to go up in flames and I tried to
blow it out. I remember people with
buckets of water. Years after, when I
went to register my son s birth, it was
in the same building, the same room
I grew up in, and I looked up and saw
the charred roof of my fire!
I came second in tests in Stan-
dard Two and, when I went home,
they asked me what I wanted. And
I said a watercolour set. I went to Deltex
on Pembroke Street and started to paint.
There was a boy named Lance
Lezama, who was kinda famous in
school, because he always used to
be on [radio variety amateur talent
show] Auntie Kay. The children
had a competition to see who was
better, Gregory or Lance. We had,
not a shoot-out, but a draw-out.
And I won. But I think his pencil point
broke. So it was a technical knockout.
I am a cookist. I prefer that than
going and buy something in a fancy
restaurant for $300. When you could
cook up a storm for $50 home by you.
And it tastes better!
I reached a point of frustration
where I was working, getting
money, but there was an emptiness
because I wanted to paint. So I
would leave the work to paint. Because
of my lack of discipline, I used to sell
a painting and go to the beach. So, after
some time, I would have to go back
I learned an important lesson
about people the last time I went
back to work. I was told stocks were
missing and I was the manager, so
I was responsible. So I packed my
things, said goodbye to everybody, and
left. In shock. I met Carlyle Chang and
told him I d just left my job. He said,
The art of making art shows
As told to BC Pires
TRINI TO D BONE
"Good! You can come work for
the Art Society now." The other
day, I saw [one of the men who
fired me] when he came to pay for
a painting. But there was no scene.
If ten people hang an art
show, each one would do it in
a different way. And each one
would be valid.
I assist artists in the hanging
of shows and selling their
works. The best part of the job
is being in the gallery alone.
The bad part is people with egos
who feel theirs is the only voice
that should be heard.
You grow up with a fella, went
to school with him, he living
100 yards from you---but you
now hiding behind a wall, wait-
ing to shoot him? Is a madness!
A Trini is an important per-
son in the world. He supposed
to be running things.
Trinidad and Tobago is the
source of everything. It s where
the Gods lay the eggs.
Read a longer version of
this feature at
Gregory Williams at a recent show of the Art Society of T&T.
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