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Artist mixes social commentary, fun in Gotcha!
Prolific artist, magazine editor and designer, Richard Mark Rawlins, brought his disciplines together for his latest exhibition, Gotcha! The result was a show of accessible, graphic and attractive works, marrying social commentary with a spirit of fun. The show was launched at Alice Yard in Woodbrook on June 24, and featured thirty paintings, mainly acrylic on various surfaces, as well as a colorfully designed monograph, featuring more of Rawlins’ explorations, with an introduction by artist/designer Adele Todd, a short piece on the “meggie” concept by writer Tracy Hutchinngs, an essay on art and politics by Andre Bagoo.
The Gotcha! concept was built around the “meggie”, which Rawlins describes as a “ubiquitous and lasting element of our T&T culture, our picong.” Hutchings describes it as “the five fingered fart, the fowl bottom” that taunts: “the joke is on you.” Through this picong prism, Rawlins looks at contemporary life in T&T, even commenting on politics in pieces like White Elephant, which shows a pale pachyderm floating in the air above the NAPA building. Although unified by its tongue-in-cheek tone, the show was divided into three distinct spaces at the Alice Yard venue, showcasing different media, style and subject matter.
One showed limited edition “meggie” prints and wearable buttons; another featured the more political works, while the main area showed images of “the people,” with pieces like Baddest by the Standpipe—rendered on an old-fashioned washboard—and Beetham, showing a mass of folks and a burning tyre. A repeated motif was faces with exaggerated eyes and lips. Rawlins says these signified two aspects of Trini culture at which our people excel: “macoing” and talk. The show also featured a screenprint collaboration with artist Suzanne Nunez. Gotcha! also featured live entertainment.
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