Art in South – I Mean South Trinidad

The Southern Gallery under the direction of Mr. Byron

Although Trinidad is a tiny place, it is divided in such a way that most people who live out of Port-of-Spain complain that they can only see certain things in ‘town,’ and are constantly asking why can’t they see more plays, more art, more concerts in other places.It is not that they do not happen at all, it is just that there are not enough of them. The San Fernando Art Gallery is one such important place to visit. I did so last year because of a strange review by Willie Chen on the work of Harold Herminez.

The reason why thebookmann, Adele and Stuart visited – Photography 42 works

The gallery has been in operation for the last four years, run by a retired school teacher who could have done a number of other things, but took all that he had and decided to take his love of Art to an actual space. Unlike the galleries in Port-of-Spain, this gallery is a plain modern two story house with a family upstairs. The sign is painted with an airbrush technique and the space inside is partitioned. There is a lot of potential for the space, and Mr. Byron is doing everything himself, from writing proposals for funding and support to painting the ceiling and trying to accommodate visitors as they come into the space to see the work.

Hanging clothes and Art together

At the moment the artist on show is the photographer Patrick Kerr who has forty two colour images on display. This body of photography is better displayed than the work of the photography icon Noel Norton at the Clico Gallery last year. The photographer himself hung the work according to a theme. There is variety in the show and it is important for people in San Fernando, environs and from all over the island to pay a visit to this growing gallery space. Mr. Byron told me that people do not see the value of photography. Digital cameras (Stefan Falke) make people feel that picture capturing is something that anyone can do. Why spend money on something that you can just copy? In the gallery space on the day that I went, there were paintings in the other room by amateur painters. Many of them were land and seascapes. This is a tradition for beginners, to attempt to paint the best of the environment, and even the professionals like Karen Sylvester attempt to paint the environment as realistically as possible.

Cascading water photographed by Patrick Kerr

The old argument is that painting shows skill and photography captures things mechanically and does not necessarily require skill. This very old argument proves untrue for those of us who have seen the works of Robert Mappelthorpe and Cindy Sherman. Mr. Byron has the opportunity to educate the public about this old point of view, and he has a chance to do so much down in South. But he needs our support. Adele

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