Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 13th 2014 Contents B30
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt April 13, 2014
"I ve known Malaika [Brooks-
Smith-Lowe] and Richie [Maitland,
two of Groundation s founders] for
some time and had heard that
they d formed a foundation called
Groundation Grenada. A couple of
artists had done residencies with
them, including someone I know.
"Between talking to both of them
I recognised that it was possible to
do work in Grenada. It took me
about two months to figure out what
I wanted to do.
"I ve always been interested in
ideas of regionalism, growing up
hearing about Caricom and reading
about the [West Indian] Federation.
I was also thinking about Caribbean
"When it came to the residency
I knew I had to set goals for myself.
I wasn t certain what work I d pro-
duce, but I wanted to get a sense of
the place. I knew I wanted to make
images. I m an imagemaker, that s
what I do.
"I didn t base much of my work
on research; I wanted to have an
uninfluenced headspace going in and
then do reading afterwards to help
me make sense of what I d seen.
"It was completely new work; that
left it formless so I wouldn t mis-
construe things as a foreigner. As
much as Grenada is an English-
speaking country in the Caribbean,
there are differences [between T&T
"I was very interested in producing
something that was strongly influ-
enced by being in Grenada [...],
avoiding perpetuating tropical ideas
or tropes---Grenada being a tourist
space, the Spice Isle.
"I ended up shooting Grenada at
"It stuck me, being in the city,
how well lit Grenada was at night.
I haven t been to many Caribbean
islands but how those islands nego-
tiated with their use of electricity is
"It also gave me something to
shoot. There s no photography with-
out light, much like there s no seeing
"The shots are architectural and
focused on the landscapes because
I felt I was there for so little time
that I didn t get a chance to get
familiar with a lot of people.
"Two weeks can be a lot of time
or a little bit of time.
make a definitive statement about
a lifestyle or a culture or a people.
I find that very unfair. Work like that
is very documentary and you could
spend years building a comfort level.
Gerard Gaskin is a brilliant example;
he spent years with [New York s ball-
room culture], knowing them and
seeing them and a city and a culture
"On March 28 at the Grenada
National Museum I gave a talk and
showing for Groundation. Some of
the Trinidad cityscapes I showed
were also architectural and also at
night [but] I wasn t that interested
in making a comparison. The images
that I generated [in Grenada] and
what I plan to continue working on
aren t necessarily from a comparative
"I was intrigued by the stories I
heard about the St George s Anglican
Church; how important Christian
religions were to Grenada; the church
itself, hearing that it hasn t received
funding since it lost its roof in 2004
after Hurricane Ivan. Interestingly,
a lot of the furniture is still intact,
not weathered, not destroyed.
"There s something about a holy
place not having a roof, and it being
open to the sky at night and the
stars was very enamoring to me---
though I myself am not religious.
"I had all these questions about
how it s being used. It s pretty much
a vacant lot in the city. People park
their cars in this abandoned church
at night. It s an interesting comment
on the architecture of the church
that all the walls, all the doors, most
of the windows are intact. The clock
still works, it chimes every hour on
"I do want to come back. I m aim-
ing at coming back for Carnival in
I m also interested in that life on
the sea; in town in Trinidad you
don t have a sense of being on an
island, there s not a huge swimming
culture or a huge sailing culture.
"There are large sections of
Trinidad that are flat and just don t
allow you to see the sea. In Port-
of-Spain you just can t see the water,
whereas in Grenada you could lit-
erally fall off the pavement into the
Seeing the light
Trinidadian freelance photographer and visual artist
Arnaldo James was in Grenada from March 18--April
3 on an residency with the arts collaborative Groun-
dation Grenada. James, who is completing a postgrad-
uate diploma in arts and cultural enterprise management
at UWI, St Augustine, holds a BA in visual art.
He told LISA ALLEN-AGOSTINI about his work and
Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe of Groundation
Grenada and Arnaldo James talk at the
Grenada National Museum, March 25.
PHOTO COURTESY PICTURESOFGRENADA.COM
The Carenage, St
St George's Anglican Church, Grenada.
IMAGE COURTESY ARNALDO JAMES
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