Archive for the ‘Adele Todd’ Tag

Feinin with “No Shame” Adele Todd’s Dimensional Embroidery

The embroidery objects by Adele Todd wore by Feinin

In the final part of interpreting Adele Todd’s recent work, Feinin took the opportunity to mock himself. The dimensional embroidery, termed by the artist are actually local phrases made from thread wrapped around wire and wadding. I am deflowered as a blue Bullerman, colorful Zammie and crowned in yellow and green with the title, “No Shame”.

And here you see Hieronymus, the future in art. Machines chewing at man. In the future you see memory will be theirs.

Adele Todd’s phrases and hangings

Adele Todd’s dimensional embroidery, her best phrase, “DEM DOES MACO MEH BAD, DEM HEAD SPINNING, DEM CONFUSE EH”

The Artist explains further, ” I looked at the idea of our local slang words and their playful meaning in these works that I have coined as ‘dimensional embroidery.’ I use this name because my objective is to play with thread in a way where the material can come alive through continuous wrappings. These works are made with wire, wadding and miles and miles of threads.”

Grande Riviere Trinidad

Young green bananas in search of sexual gratification

Grande Riviere is a quaint bay, its also where the Great leather Leatherback turtles nest, Trinidad and Tobago is so blessed, less the hardship and temptation of crime that has eroded parts of our island’s beauty.

Feinin’s Grande Riviere, 2009

A young boy sucking on a sugarcane, embroidered threads from the reverse side – Adele Todd at Grande Riviere during an artists residency in 2001.

Artists must thank Charlotte Elias for what she had done, without her and Grande Riviere, your careers would be of shit. Thy fingers point at thee…

The term banana means the phallus, hence green the banana reference

The Garden

A table set with artist Adele Todd’s interpretation of Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delight” considered as the greatest painting ever produced

This work as you see is very intricate, Adele Todd has put her spin on “The Garden of Earthly Delights” displaying what it would be like if Hieronymus Bosch was a Trinidadian. No surprise, he sees that convulsing is predominantly present. Look into the mirror of my time, and foresee the future next to me Feinin.

A detail of the unfinished embroidery and the leaf of delight

My question to the artist is why, is this a feat, for your work to be reproduced as an embroidered table cloth? Can anyone duplicate it as they would Bosch?

Hit wit yuh mout

Hit by Trinidadian Adele Todd, 2000

In a series of four square canvas, HIT’s attempt was to showcase aspects of verbal abuse by depicting facial expressions, drawn by thread of course. Verbal abuse, it comes from all directions. In the act, in contorts the face, and what you focus on is the mouth as you trying to get your point across. The angrier you get, the mouth begins to salivate. like a tennis match you volley your insults and then your opponent volley’s back.

Four mouth pieces that tell a story

Note the gum, the pallet of the mouth all embroidered

What do people argue over, here are some samples

The neighbour to the right, he starts.” I need something to eat, or I go faint”, he continues very loud, ” We have nutting in the house, no toilet paper, no soap, no toothpaste, no milk, no bread, no rice, no oil….what kind of person are you gallivanting all day in your car? To the right of me. Flared up, the woman’s name, you can’t take care of (the child’s name) alone, I am paying for this place you can’t do it alone. He cusses but under his breath, like a church choir boy. Apparently locked out. To the back, “Shut up, shut up yuh old nag.” (A older couple)

Why do we look so ugly when we argue?

A message to you all – Hit

Embroidery on felt, Hit Adele Todd, 2000

The Trinidadian artist Adele Todd has allowed Feinin to interpret her work. Here is one of her felt pieces which represent the many ways people are punished in the Caribbean. A ruler and hot iron, a slipper, a rolling pin, a belt or worse yet a cutlass….whatever you have at the time of the confrontation. I like using written words.

Embroidery, Adele Todd explains, is her art, or in other words her paint brush where she outlines and decorates the silhouettes . The woman running is screaming, she is also wearing a lovely polka dot dress stitched in red. “Domestic life does not prepare one for violence” says the Artist.

Hit by Feinin, 2009

Can art possess an inner power, can it do things which we have no control over? In the process of documenting a detail of the silhouette, as I moved the ladder to the side, it tipped over and smashed directly into the center of my history, breaking apart my father’s only plate and my Great Grand parents’ china tea cup and saucer.

Art, where thou you kneel

Violence Blooms 2006-2009 Trinidad


Dhow Dhow and Pax Pax, three years of work using the technique of straight stitch applique

Violence Blooms, Adele Todd explains,  ” In 2005 I was in China as a participant in the Second Beijing Biennial. In our last few days in the city, a friend and I found out about a wonderful Buddhist temple. We took a taxi and arrived in time for the latter half of the prayers in the courtyard of the temple. While there I observed some very detailed hanging curtains that were adorned with embroidered flowers done in traditional Chinese style. It was then that the idea for violence blooms emerged. The concept was to do much larger embroidery work on the theme of violence in boys as they grow to adulthood. I looked at the idea that Trinidad and Tobago on the one hand represents an idyllic space and yet faces so much internal conflicts from the people themselves.”


Embroidered Anthuriums, back view


Detail of Anthuriums

Adele Todd
Violence Blooms

Never utter the word crime to me, never asked me for help, I resign from it all

A.T. Day 5

August 28, 2009

I was touched by your work. You described accurately how so many of us feel about T&T!Although I have been living overseas for 20 years, I am still saddened by the continuing rise in crime. I’ve asked myself many times, how bad does it have to get before it starts getting better? The truth is, nothing will change until we do something about it. You’ve made a positive step. Continue raising awareness !-  Tracey Drayton-Gomes


Can eight years of commitment to the topic of violence in boys as they grow to adulthood, culminating in the show Police an’Tief really change a nation?

I have asked this question about the power and purpose of Art.

I can now say,



However one other thing is needed to make this statement true.

It is the reliance we place on each other.


We must make the effort to make these changes happen,they need not be elaborate, they can be as simple as looking someone in the eyes when talking to them. Then we will see through participation and genuine effort to change for the better that once started,simple acts will improve our well-being and that of those around us, leaving no need for shows like this… Adele Todd All Rights Reserved 2009

A documentary by Richard Bolai and Adele Todd

An artist project produced by Adele Todd and overseen by Richard Bolai. She is an embroider who spent five days in a place called the House to combat crime in her country. Since then from the 23rd of August, 2009, reports on homicide has dipped and in one place called Diego Martin, the daily bombardment of police, ambulance sirens and night helicopter surveillance have ceased. Let the flowers bloom once again

A detail of a handkerchief of which each of the thirty two were dabbed with either  perfume, cologne or baby power. This was to give a sence of memory and to remind the viewer that this was a person.


October 2rd, 2009

Today I got a call from RealArtWays telling me that they got a call from FexEx had held the box for security reason asking them to explain what exactly is ‘inside’ my embroidery.

I had to ask twice what was meant by the question? Did they think that perhaps I had infused the threads with some sort of drug?

The ingredient to my work is as follows-: Handkerchief linen, embroidery thread.

RealArtWays is one of the nation’s leading contemporary arts organizations is based in America.

A.T. Day 4

August 27, 2009


Tonight, walking into the space, I was struck not only by the silence and the stillness, but the continued power of the pieces.

I got right to work. I had a great deal to do.

The work that started it all was laid at my knees, and I contemplated where it had taken me.

I cleansed the space with candles that burnt down quickly.

when I was leaving, I was made aware of a commossion on the street ajacent to “The House’, some

plain clothes policemen where speaking to a man whom they suspected to be a…tief…

August 26, 2009

 This reminds us of duty



As part of the invitation guests were asked to provide two small snacks. This was a small token in appreciation and as a sharing of communal offering.

A.T. Day 2

August 26, 2009


This morning I arrived and got the proof that I saught. Someone had indeed been in ‘The House’. It did not take any length of time to conclude what was going on. The gardeners had cut the lawn and they were about. I made them aware of who I was and what I was doing. But they declined to come in and look at the work.

Later however, one of the gentlemen wanted to know whether there was some sort of sermon being spoken and he asked to join. My guests opened the billowing curtains that separated him from us and we invited him to join. But again, he was skittish about coming in. Eventually he did pop his head in and tentatively look around and sprint back out again.

After my guests left, I heard him talking with other staff about a court case he had been involved in. I felt that indeed what was on the walls had permeated outside.

Some of the comments today had to do with the fact that at first the work may be something that might make you laugh. You may think them quaint, until you look again and you take in the details. The works theme creeps up on you.

A.T.Day 1

August 25, 2009

The day after the opening of the show, I observed that the gate was open. Someone had gotten into the room and trampled on one of my pieces. The footprint was evident on the front of the embroidery. The irony was that it was the image of the pomp and ceremony that the police engage in for Independence day, (August 31st.)

This set me back for a moment as I looked around the quiet space and my eyes alighted on the guest book. The night before as I was leaving I placed the pen inside the book. Today the book lay flat, sans pen? Did someone decide that it was not necessary? Did the ‘owner’ come for ‘their’ pen?


The day was quiet and I worked on two pieces in silver that I intend for a show in London. A friend called to find out about the hours…10:30 to 3:30 until Friday. We were interrupted by a loud blaring on her side, the sound of loud speakers egging on the government of the day and an odd plaintive wailing of dogs as though sensing death. What an eerie moment

Later in the afternoon things picked up. One lady was very taken by what she was looking at and she said to me, what a sacrifice to take this energy on. It cannot be easy to sacrifice this way to show us these things.Did you work this small, make such small stitches to say that crime is to become smaller and smaller?

I found the comment unexpected and remembered my show in 2000, Hit! A visual documentation on domestic violence. Such an atmosphere seems to encourage tyes of introspection that go beyond the parroted exclamations that the newspaper headlines encourage. Somehow the gallery space makes one more mindful.

A documentary by Richard Bolai and Adele Todd

Alister’s house was located in Barataria, Trinidad West Indies. Thieves broke in (Young Boys) and they were caught by the police, she was not home. That day, the police said not to touch anything. Every draw was open, clothes and other possessions were scattered about. The next morning her house was torched and burnt to the ground. She was a pinnacle resident from the community for 60 years

Congrats on a courageous undertaking – Janine Mendes-Franco Global Voices


Today I ended a chapter in my work from many perspectives. Ended is a large body of embroidery on violence in Trinidad and Tobago. Certainly it is not the last of making these pieces that I have focused on for a decade. Yet, ended is the requirements taken to research this topic.

The space chosen for this departure was the University of the West Indies. A space called ‘The House’, on Warner Street. An old colonial bungalow, practically forgotten. Used for classes, but bereft of care.

The show continues to the 28th of August, 2009.
Titled Police an’ Tief, I look at crime in Trinidad and Tobago from four perspectives.
The police,
The criminal,
The judiciary and
The victims.
The colour choices for each grouping:


Walking into “The House’ was a sight to behold, alot of work needed to be done to get it in shape. In some ways the house was a testament to the state of Trinidad today. On the one hand, the past stared me in the face in the guise of the old abstract patterned curtains, dusty with wear.
Many made promises, empty from the start. No one really wants to touch this topic. They will talk, and tell you how brave, how talented, how important. But they stay away from this issue.

Nonetheless,this is a tribute to all of those who stay, the photographers in our society who take the thankless, sad pictures of our fellow men felled in service, the crying victims, the arrogant perpetrators…

The POWER OF THREAD is the point of my works.

Remember Duty – Adele Todd

August 22, 2009

Never expect people, who represent Titles to do something other than to benefit themselves


Adele Todd working out the details over the installation of her work.


Preparing the day before the opening, Baby power dashed to remind oneself of dignity


Works being installed in the corridor, the House, University of the West Indies, Trinidad.