Art Crawl – Port of Spain

Adele Todd with Shastri Maharaj at Y gallery, Port of Spain

My friends and I took the opportunity to go see Shastri Maharaj’s show at Y Gallery, Jasmine Thomas-Girvan’s jewellery show at SoftBox and Che Lovelace’s show at the Trinidad Art Society space. We were also able to pop by More Vino to see the work of Shalini Singh. We never got to In2Art to see Jackie Hinkson’s group show, but we shall rectify that very soon, when during the coming week we go off to see the jewellery exhibition of Janice Derick. The Christmas season is nearing, and artists’ shows are coming fast and furious. That is a good thing, as there are so many things that people have to pay for if they want to be entertained, and an art show is one that is free of charge.

This Art Crawl, which basically is telling a group of friends about a number of shows that are on, plotting where they are situated, having everyone park at the furthest one and then car pooling to the others. Is a good deal. We get to spend the entire day focused on the work, and if the artist is there, as was Shastri and Jasmine, then that makes it even better.


Shastri Maharaj’s work representing aspects of the people of Trinidad and Tobago

The atmosphere at Y Gallery was practically festive as Shastri walked in. The space is naturally very bright, and for his body of work, thirty-six pieces, there was an opening up of new approaches. He continues to have the women on the plains, and the homage to Indian miniature, in such work as Lingam. But he also has a series of sensitively painted individuals with folksy titles like, “Uncle Ralph” and “The Housekeeper.”

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan’s show, Gems, is a visual delight of discovery, as she choreographs the space as well as entertains the eye with s prodigious one hundred pieces of work! The level of detail never grows stale, as every single piece is filled with enough whimsy, skill, charm, colour and shape to keep you lingering on and on. She also has a running film of her work, in case you may wonder how the piece looks from another angle or in another context. She has included bits of writing with some works that also inspire.

Shalini Singh’s show at More Vino, are long rectangular paintings that recall the work of Carlisle Chang in the early seventies. His look at Mas. This may be because of her colour choices. These panels are very affordable and decorative.


Che Lovelace at Gallery 101, Trinidad

By contrast Che Lovelace’s show at The Trinidad Art Society, fourty-four pieces of varying sizes, are carnival conscious. That is the theme he plays with, and like Singh, something in the handling suggests paintings in Trinidad and Tobago from the late 1950’s early 1960’s. The painting style is chock full of a past history, and in some ways despite the festive theme, there is an underlying sadness there. Mr. Lovelace uses a number of painting styles, dry brush, dripping,light application and dense colour tones.


Stuart Hahn with Adele Todd at Jasmine Thomas-Girvan’s jewelery exhibition, Softbox, Trinidad

All of the shows, save Ms. Thomas-Girvan’s Gems’, could have been better served by a bit of editing, as in every instance the space used was packed with work. It was difficult to enjoy one piece when another stood so closely by, competing for attention. This is always an issue for me. How a show is hung is as important as what is shown.We enjoyed going out together and having a chance to see several shows at once. We are looking forward to the shows to come, to do it all over again.

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