Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 27th 2014 Contents B3
Thursday, March 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
In the more sedate surroundings of the Dutch
embassy on Edward Street, Cozier tells me how Alice
Yard began back in 2006, "during an event called Gal-
vanized, where young artists wanted to position them-
selves in the public domain.
"Rather than having an exhibition in one central
location, they opted to place their works and projects
across the city in locations where people could come
and see them.
"At that time, in the space where Alice Yard is, there
was a group called Collaborative Frog and Jaime Lee
Loy wanted an old mouldy space in which to show
DUTCH COURAGE from Page B2
Made In China,
Cozier and Shaun
invites guests to
stand on the
with the concept
by sitting on it.
Humble start of Alice Yard
"Back then the yard was an abandoned backyard
shed and Sean Leonard, the founder and owner of
the property, cleared it out for the video. A lot of
people came to see it, and before you knew it people
were saying, What a cool space. "
Next it turned into a sound-proofed rehearsal
space for musicians.
Then Cozier got involved and so did Nicholas
Laughlin, now programme director of Bocas Lit Fest.
More artists and designers like Marlon Darbeau and
Richard Rawlins began meeting there and it became
what Cozier describes as "a locus and default con-
There is now a
gallery and an apart-
ment where artists can
stay for short periods.
Cozier compares the
experience artists gain
from staying and work-
ing there to obtaining
a degree in fine art at
a prestigious overseas
institution for free.
"You mightn t get a
certificate, but you get
the (invaluable) dia-
premise of it is that
many of our cultural
enterprises start in
yards, whether it s mas
bands or steelbands,"
"Sean, being an
architect, is interested
in urban development.
Woodbrook is one of
the earliest suburbs of
Belmont, then Woodbrook, then Newtown.
"One of the most spectacular things for me was
when we were doing a project and an older man
came into the yard and said, I like what all you
fellas doing here, and I asked why it s so important
and he said, Well, I can remember being a little boy,
watching Paul Robeson sing off the balcony of a
house, and that was the foundation of Little Carib
Robeson was touring the West Indies in 1948 and
laid the foundation stone of the theatre, built by
dancer Beryl McBurnie in her parents backyard, a
few blocks down Roberts Street from Alice Yard.
The Alice Yard project became a regional transna-
tional enterprise for artists from other parts of the
Caribbean and the diaspora. Cozier says the space
confuses people who are only ever introduced to art
in a commercial setting.
"It s not really a gallery," he says. "It s more like
a laboratory for people to come and think and try
things. They might even fail, but they might then
transport them elsewhere where they might work."
On the state of Caribbean art right now, Cozier
says: "I think it s a really good moment. The sector
is expanding very quickly. Inter-island conversations
amongst the new generation are strong and very
fertile. The connection to the diaspora is the healthiest
it s ever been.
"Which means if you re a 20- or 30-something-
year-old artist in Port-of-Spain, Kingston,
Bridgetown, London or Amsterdam you re really
working within one critical conversation. And since
Alice Yard other projects have mushroomed in other
"At that time, in
the space where
Alice Yard is, there
was a group called
and Jaime Lee Loy
wanted an old
mouldy space in
which to show her
video. Back then
the yard was an
backyard shed and
Sean Leonard, the
founder and owner
of the property,
cleared it out for
the video. A lot of
people came to see
it, and before you
knew it people
'What a cool
For more info: aliceyard.blogspot.com
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