trinidad artist


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“Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden—in all the places.”
~Frances Hodgson Burnett

Garden Magic

8.5 x 11"

As a Caribbean person, in the the light of our historical circumstances, the assertion of my own narrative and presence is important. At one of my first exhibitions, one viewer warily proclaimed “Who she feel she is to paint she self on such a big canvas?!.. She must feel she is somebody.”

Traditionally, we have never completely controlled or had a share in the historical constructions or the configurations of mass-media that label us, and therefore we always run the risk of being misrepresented. I recall being being told, by a well respected artist, that that if I wanted to make “serious paintings,” that I had to avoid using too much colour.

Needless to say, I did not buy this. I continue to challenge the notion that one has to live and work in a place covered by a grey haze to have a “real” and “serious” life. Years later I even found myself making a large black and white painting in response to this and then had fun decorating and violating it with beautiful pink and red artificial flowers.

—  Irénée Shaw, Trinidadian artist