There is also another reason for hosting the exhibition at Lakes, the last remaining piece of the historic old mahogany tree was bought from the late Albert Lake 30 years ago. I will also introduce carvings from the Anguilla National Tree, the White Cedar, which are now coming of age and are all over the Island, begging to beautify the Island, only if some critical thinking person will start a program to care and protect the trees.
It can be very profitable in years to come.
My history of formal art education did not begin until the age eighteen as a student teacher in the UK, in 1963. And this in spite of the fact that I came from a village well-known for its pottery and a family name that is synonymous with pottery in Barbados. The potters and their work were visible every day, but I cannot recall ever being taken to an art exhibition as a school activity. I have to put the blame squarely on the schools, its administration, and its teachers, for not fostering the appreciation art among our general population.
It took me 15 years in Barbados to find a creative way to introduce my art to the public, by thinking outside the box and mounting an art exhibition in a leading department store, just next to the entrance of a popular restaurant. The result was an unbelievable success in generating interest and also sales.
After 31 years in another island, I feel compelled to repeat the exercise. In the 31 years we have seen few native residents, except for fundraising and the odd cocktail opening. One often wonders why hardly any art students go on to be practicing artists, the atmosphere and foundation just isn’t there.
There are hardly any field trips to artists studios or art exhibitions. Could it be the strong belief that art is only for the children who are not capable of academic achievements? It is prevalent among the population, school administrators, and teachers themselves.
I challenge them all to conduct a study to see which students have the most talent for art and they will discover that they fall among the top 10 academic students in the school. Any school that places the arts, music, visual, and performing arts highly in the curriculum will also be among the top schools in academics. Create a vibrant program for art knowledge and appreciation among the children today and the emerging artists will find a viable market for tomorrow.
Invite artists into the schools to share their work and experiences, take the children on field trips to exhibitions, teach art history, and one would find that many inventions to improve production in a particular discipline, were by practicing artists, not only artists but engineers, examples are Arbotech-wood-, Brent -ceramics- and others.
The upcoming Exhibition will be held for the first time in a supermarket: Lakes Market place. The aim is to expose to the public to what I do for a living and have done for the past 50 years, after resigning from a position as the first teacher of color in an English County in 1969.