Monthly Archives: October 2012

Beautyfull things

Today I just want to meditate a bit on beauty. About its mysterious ability to magnetise, to inspire us to be better. I’m talking about natural beauty — like a stupefying sunset, or that beauty generated by man in works of art — like “Woman on De Bass” by Trinidad All Stars… That magic… I just want to share some of the things that touch me as an artist, as a person fighting for the honour of local creativity.


I remember the first time I saw “Beauty in Perpetuity” by George Bailey and Terry Evelyn as a child. It was just a photo, yet the image terrified and compelled me. Later as a youth “Man Crab” by Peter Minshall thrilled me in the same way. And “The Apotheosis of El Tucuche” by Leroy Clarke. I remember — as young artists — we all ran down collections of Leroy’s drawings — the same way we ran down exhibitions by Stuart Hahn — probably T&T’s greatest figurative illustrator.

I remember as a child learning how the radio worked just so I could put it on Saturday morning to press my ear against the speaker and hear the late great Errol Jones tell the stories of Anansi. I remember ritually camping in the living room with my whole family watching Dimanche Gras finals every year — until about 1992… enchanted by the revelation of each song. I remember my family again huddled together watching Turn of the Tide, No Boundaries, Sugar Cane Arrows, and Play of the Month — just as we would later The Cosby Show… These were all beautiful things… Read the rest of this entry

Independence abortions, budget dreams

Plans were approved for the last two budgets to utilise the 50th Independence anniversary as a springboard to consolidate local legacy material and release our living geniuses into the world. This year should have been one of T&T celebrating its unique magic, while retooling our cultural sector into a $6 billion net annual earner of foreign exchange. Instead, $100 million was wasted on vaporous events and projects lacking coherence, beauty and institutional permanence. This article concludes our look at the original plans…

In creative populations, the top five per cent earn the majority of profits. The “Beyonces” earn 65 per cent of what their labels make. Our strategy was to facilitate T&T’s genius class—just like the Ministry of Sport supports elite athletes. Worthy artistes were to be selected by the Arts Council in consultation with representative groups. T&T was to follow their preparation for global expos—where they’d win deals.

Our top geniuses can earn $2 billion annually—within four years. The aim is to give 35 per cent of T&T’s artistes touring careers—between 50 and 100 paying-days touring annually—in markets with favourable rates of exchange. This would graduate thousands into the middle class, many into millionaire-dom. London’s Olympics was to be main staging ground—utilising relationships with our global stars like Nicki Minaj. Cultural attaches were to be created to assist… Read the rest of this entry

What we should have done

Having unfortunately witnessed many crimes in my life I can now say that the most grievous next to murder must be “waste”. Having battled for 15 years for small budgets to enact transformative plans for disenfranchised communities and the cultural sector (plans outstanding for eight generations) it’s sickening to watch hundreds of millions thrown away on pointless twat that evaporates the moment it’s launched. During the oil and gas boom of the Manning era it is estimated over $300 billion was spent at just state level. What do we have to show for it? How has the landscape been transformed in terms of capacity? How many empowered and moved into the middle class and beyond?

This repeating tragedy haunted me throughout the entire $100 million spend on the 50th Independence anniversary whilst new millionaires were minted and many “eat ah food” veterans gilded.

The problem is, in the public’s mind money was spent on “art” — and since most was mediocre, ugly and amateurish, or pretty but fleeting — people conclude that “art wastes money”. This misrepresentation of art because of ministerial ignorance of what it is — and art’s use as a funnel between the Treasury and certain people’s friends, family and constituencies must end. It’s an insult to real artists, real art, and its potential to transform consciousness, communities, and the economy. Read the rest of this entry