After spending time with world-renowned artist, poet, lecturer, philosopher and Orisha leader LeRoy Clarke, Speyside High School students are asking one question: “When are we going back?’
The 22 students from Forms One to Six paid a three-day visit to Clarke’s Legacy House last week “to learn more about art, but left in awe of the man, his honesty and frankness and style of devotion,” their teacher Tomley Roberts said.
Hailing the life-lesson sessions as “life-changing,” Roberts said, “the students were so engrossed by the veteran artist that they forget to visit the mall or the zoo, as planned.”
Roberts, who is also Tobago Visual Arts Association president, said although the students learned about painting technique they also learned how to live, as they slept comfortably on sleeping bags and mattresses all over Clarke’s house during their stay.
“It was indeed a fantastic experience, but they also learned about his style of devotion, which was different from what they are accustomed to. LeRoy, my mentor, engages people in a way that is long-lasting,” Roberts told Tobago Today.
It’s the first time the veteran artist, who turns 80 on November 7, has allowed any camp at his home, Roberts noted. It might not be the last time either, as his home remains a place for anyone to visit and learn, Roberts noted.
Roberts said the visit remained “etched” in the students’ minds and they had all now become the artist’s protégés.
The student will form part of a national contingent, which will also feature Clarke, that will visit an exhibition at the Museum of Black Civilisation in Dakar, Senegal, later this year. Roberts said the students will take art pieces they created with Clarke’s guidance to Senegal for the event. The museum honours people of African origin who have made a significant contribution to the African Diaspora.
In Senegal, Clarke will join the ranks of other famous sons of the soil, like Dr Eric Williams, CLR James and George Padmore, who have been honoured at the museum.