During the latter half of 2019, most of my time was spent carving some of the most beautiful mahogany I have ever had the pleasure of carving. The wood was from the 300+ year old historic Anguilla tree, that carried a trunk of over six feet in diameter. If you can imagine a mental orgasm, well I had it, carving that wood.
The work was for a local exhibition in the supermarket of the late owner and person who sold me the wood over 25 years ago. I really cannot remember the exact year but I can remember the occasion. The crane that was doing the lifting of the trunk had to quickly remove the wood from the first truck that was hired to transport the wood, the springs went right down, causing the driver to panic.
A heavy-duty flat-bed truck was eventually contracted. The wood was already fairly cured, as the tree had fallen in 1971. I arrived in Anguilla in 1988. The wood sat in a foot container for years, before carving a few sculptures from the wood: one for the Social Security building, the largest sculpture; one as a gift from a former Governor as a gift to the local government for the House of assembly; another as a gift to the Father of the Nation, the 1967 revolution leader; and another to the late Albert Lake as a birthday gift, the businessman who sold me the wood.
One reason for hosting the exhibition in the Lakes supermarket was to introduce local residents to my work and to the wood from the old mahogany tree; very few locals visit the gallery and may have seen my work in the two public places mentioned, or in one of the banks.
The exhibition was a moderate success and could have been better had not for some unforeseen circumstances. First, there was a staffing problem: the supermarket could not assign a staff member to manage the sales and someone had to be present at all times; the business hours were 8am to 8pm which meant finding two to oversee the exhibition 6 days a week. I was able to find a very reliable young lady for 6 hours a day; another young lady did not work out except for 2 days. The exhibition was December 14 to 31. In the meantime, I encountered some medical issues and my son was visiting from Canada and I had to spend some quality time with him as we explored the various beaches.
The work on display were mainly small gift items at affordable prices for locals and visitors alike, also bearing in mind the time of the year. The gallery was still opened, my wife thankfully agreed to be in the gallery 6 days a week. A last minute commission kept me in the studio every day from 7am to 1 pm, Unfortunately, the exhibition was covered with drapes for more the half the opening hours. It was a great idea and locals appreciated the opportunity to see work from the old mahogany tree. The remaining work along with some new work is now on display in the Devonish Art Gallery on Route 1.