Dr Safeeya Mohammed
“Creativity is intelligence having fun,”
~ Albert Einstein once said.
The mind of the creative genius is a complex and wonderful thing. Not only have great artists shaped culture and the human experience for centuries, but they help us better understand how we approach the world, reason, occupy ourselves, develop our abilities and prepare for the future.
One of our versatile artists of T&T soil, Dr Jennylynd James, curator and owner of Arte Bacchanal Gallery, Merida in Mexico, is elevating the Caribbean experience through a current exhibition, “El Caribe llega a Merida”–The Caribbean arrives in Merida.
This exhibition celebrates the creativity of the Caribbean and introduces Caribbean art to Merida, showcasing the vivacity of the art produced by Caribbean artists, and giving an insight into the similarities and differences of the Caribbean region with the Yucatán.
Featured artists from T&T include Anika Plowden-Corentin and visual art mentors Joy Luk Pat, Tracey Alonzo, Deborah Clement and curator Dr Jennylynd James.
“El Caribe llega a Merida” also includes fine artists and photographers from Jamaica, and other Caribbean artists residing in the USA, Canada Colombia, and Mexico.
The exhibition launches at the gallery during La Noche Blanca, a city-wide celebration of the arts organised by Merida es Cultura. The exhibition started on May 13 and continues through to June 30.
Visitors to the exhibition will also have the opportunity to experience “Caribbean vibes with love.” Carnival displays showing excerpts from the 2023 festivities and costumes will be featured. A fashion show to showcase creative painted Caribbean fabrics alongside Caribbean music such as soca, calypso, dance hall reggae, zouk, and cadence along with typical T&T and Jamaican appetisers.
A true Renaissance woman–Dr Jennylynd James
Curator and owner of Arte Bacchanal Gallery, Dr Jennylynd James is a true “Renaissance” woman: an artist, writer, and classical music singer with a long work history as a food scientist. Dr James discovered a hidden talent for drawing and painting while working as an entrepreneur in the Republic of Ireland. She has written a series of travel memoirs which recount her many adventures at different locations. She uses the vivid colours of her heritage and global travel to influence her work.
Her artsy flair in running a food business took an interesting turn when, in an amateur art class, the instructor found Dr James excelled in portraiture and sketching. She has embraced self-expression in art as a lifestyle. Now, her artwork is held in collections in Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom, and is available on Amazon for purchase.
Proud of her Alma mater, Bishop Anstey High School, as part of their 100th-anniversary celebrations, her early artwork was on display at Castle Killarney in April 2021 as part of an exhibition featuring alumnae artists.
The talented female artists featured within “El Caribe llega a Merida” include:
Founder and creative director of Chosen Hands, Anika Plowden-Corentin is a self-taught visual mixed media storyteller. Chosen Hands, a non-governmental organisation which runs a sustainable creative arts programme, was happy to partner with Arte Bacchanal Art Gallery in Mexico to participate in “El Caribe llega a Merida”.
Under the umbrella of Chosen Hands, a network of artists and professionals, volunteer their time, talent and resources to use art as a vehicle to provide at-risk/vulnerable youth with an opportunity for personal expression. In 2020, her ‘Angel Belles’ were central to the International Women’s Day Exhibition held at the Red House Rotunda Gallery in T&T.
Joy Luk Pat
Aptly recognised for her artwork that radiates positivity and celebration. Joy Luk Pat was awarded Best Emerging Artist by the Art Society of T&T in her first-time exhibit in 2016. Her steelpan-inspired painting, Passion, was selected as a gift to the Chinese Delegation on behalf of the people of T&T in 2019. She won the Excellence for Mixed Media Award from The Women In Art Organisation of T&T (WIAOTT) in 2021.
Luk Pat emphasises that in each art piece, a story is unfolded. “Bold concepts and life experiences are fused together and culminate into tangible and freshly positive mixed media designs. I want people to feel like they can reach out and touch it, connect to it, and feel the emotions communicated,” she shared.
A member of the Art Society of T&T and for many years has exhibited her work in Trinidad and Miami, Florida. This avid photographer, painter and illustrator started her career as a graphic designer with some of T&T’s leading advertising agencies. Alonzo acquired her degree in Communication and Design from International Fine Arts College in Miami, Florida, where she also pursued Photography.
A multidisciplinary artist trained in Design and Education and now retired, Deborah Clement taught Visual Arts at the public secondary school and tertiary level.
“My current artwork fuses the cross-contamination of genres in attempting to explore the ‘human condition’, mixing media and drawing in often unconventional ways, employing the excitingly unpredictable methods of monoprint and collage, stamping, stencilling, scraping.
“My art making is as much about process as it is about product. In this time of uncertainty, of new rules, we’re all playing by ear and often with limited resources on this tiny, fragile planet. Yet, we grand charge like the robber and bite and spit at the other in this our confined space. As Black Stalin said, ‘We can make it if we try!’”
Encouraging all to embrace the artist within them, she shares, “The arts are the most effective tool for exploring thought and emotion as well as for the explication of one’s own situational assessments. As I always say, art is work, play, and healing. Art is language, metaphor and meaning.”