Review by Kevin Baldeosingh
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Breaking into the art market
From July 31 to August 3, three young artists will make their formal introduction into the local art scene with a joint exhibition entitled Let There Be Life. Set to be held at the Art Society of T&T in St Clair, the exhibition draws inspiration from the biblical concept of creation with the vibrance of nature being the recurrent theme in the three sets of artwork. In a telephone interview with the Sunday Guardian earlier this week, one of the artists, Sarah Burrows explained the meaning behind the exhibition. “It is a celebration of life. We draw reference from Genesis and play off the biblical line ‘let there be light,’ but then we took it a step further. We went beyond light and wanted to represent life itself. You’ll find that all three of us did this through depicting nature in different ways.”
Burrows, 28, is a self-taught mixed media artist who has most recently specialised in acrylic works. In 2009, one of her pieces titled the Colours of Love was among those chosen to be displayed on the walls around the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain, where it stayed on display for almost two years. She did her first solo exhibition, War and Peace in January 2012, and a group exhibition in August of last year called Eden which she said had major influences on the pieces she created for this latest exhibit. One of her favourite pieces in Let There Be Life is one called Queen, which was inspired by Queen Elizabeth II (after whom she named her daughter) and features Burrows’ love of butterflies. Another of the artists, Sayada Ramdial, said the joint exhibition will be a “good introduction and a good way of testing out the public’s perception of my work without having to make the gamble on my own.”
Ramdial won a national scholarship for visual arts in 2008 and studied Fine Arts in Illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design in the US before returning to Trinidad to pursue a career in art. She has since begun establishing herself as a freelance illustrator and has done designs and illustrations for book covers, T-shirts and greeting cards. While illustration remains her bread and butter, over the last year she has rekindled her love of painting and most of her pieces at the exhibition will be watercolour and acrylic paintings. While she has displayed her work at events such as the UpMarket, she is looking forward to having them displayed in formal fashion for art enthusiasts to enjoy and give their feedback. One of her favourite pieces which will be on display is Within The Calm which depicts a flapjack cactus with a snake slithering between the clumps on leaves.
Ellij Nicholas is a multi-disciplinary artist and full-time art teacher at Princes Town East Secondary School. As he puts it, “I paint, sculpt, do graphic design...I work with almost any medium that I can get my hands on.” The 27-year-old said it has been difficult juggling his job and preparing for the exhibit, and he is still putting the finishing touches on some of the pieces that will be on display. After the title Let There Be Life was chosen, he decided that he would only be using original pieces that reflected the theme. Nicholas said he has even used some of the pieces as an example or teaching tool for his students in order to “harness their energies and instincts while helping them understand the foundational basics of art.” Burrows, Ramdial and Nicholas met each other over a year ago through a mutual friend, and it was Burrows who suggested the idea of hosting a joint exhibition. She said, “One of the benefits of a group exhibition is that you have shared costs. Also, we know each other and are able to play off each other’s strengths so there is a synergy to it. We are all young and upcoming artists, and it’s a bit harder for us to break into the market so it’s easier with all three of us.” Each of the artists will have between 15 and 20 pieces on display. The opening reception will be held at the Art Society of T&T on July 31, at 6pm.