THE Sangre Grande community is known for producing many calypso, soca and chutney artistes but many of its artists are relatively unknown – till now. On June 14, iHUBtt will be hosting the inaugural I Like Art Exhibition, featuring the work of 12 artists from the East-West Corridor.
The show will run for a week and provides an opportunity for young artists to get valuable exposure. Opening night is by invite only and is expected to be a grand affair, with an elegantly casual dress code, red carpet and photo opportunities.
After opening night, the exhibition opens to the public from 9 am-5 pm until June 21.
Marlon Skerrette, owner of iHUBtt, on Ramoutar Street, Sangre Grande, said the gallery has garnered tremendous interest from the public despite being promoted almost exclusively via its social media page for the past two months.
The featured artists from Sangre Grande to Port of Spain include Tinisha Cooselal, Samantha Rochard, Kevin Vincent, AJ Rogers, Gary Martin, Joshua Morales, Rebecca Denoon, Patricia Walkins, Mikial Brathwaite, Danielle Boodoo-Fortune, Camille Bartholomew and Trevor Seunarine.
"For our Creativity Mondays series leading up to the exhibition, we did video features of the artists, giving people a bit of insight into them and showcasing them like never before. We have some established artists but most of them are young and upcoming. Some of the artists expressed their heartfelt thanks for our Creativity Mondays series as they've gotten requests to do other things as well," he said.
Has the Sangre Grande public shown interest?
"So far, the feedback has been tremendous. A lot of people are eager for it to start, because we started promoting it a good while now, but since this is the first time we're doing something like this in Sangre Grande, we wanted to let people know way in advance."
Skerrette said a number of secondary schools have already told iHUBtt they want to visit the exhibition as an outing for their art students.
Explaining what his company was about and why it decided to host the exhibition he said iHUBtt "is a hub for business and creativity and our aim is to link the two. In terms of hosting the art exhibition, it stems out of recognising the importance of expression and the contribution it would have to culture and diversity," he said.
Skerrette, 33, believes despite this type of art being dormant in Sangre Grande for quite some time, now is the ideal time for its revival, as the benefits are immeasurable.
"Our goal is a rejuvenation of the art scene in Sangre Grande. It's been a while since we had any art exhibition of this size. There are people involved in craft and sculpting, but you would find art galleries more in Port of Spain and the city area. We want it here," he said.
Among his other goals are "to foster an appreciation for local art and increase community participation. We want to expose the community to the local arts." He said while the gallery is open for everyone, he hopes the Sangre Grande and environs community takes the opportunity to visit.
Their third aim is "to create a platform for supporting young and upcoming artists. The life of an artist is a difficult one. It is not like there is a steady income, so recognition is important to reap the rewards. So we want to help support the artists."
Skerrette is also encouraging those who visit the gallery to not only share their thoughts on the pieces on display but also share ideas.
"We want to bring together creative minds in the community to add value and increase the social potential of the community." Skerrette believes by socialising in an art environment, intellectual and creative minds can share ideas and other ventures can be conceptualised.
"We have a lot of creatives, but everybody busy doing their own thing, not knowing who the other creatives are and who you can partner with on a project. We believe this has a lot of social potential."
He urged art enthusiasts and the general public to come out and if they want they can also buy a piece of art.
"There will be two-dimensional and three-dimensional pieces. If you want a chance to add to any collection, now is a really nice opportunity. You can find something for your home or maybe for a commercial building.
"All the artworks will be for sale. If someone sees something that they might like, you can purchase it and you will only be able to collect it after the duration of the exhibition. The artists will reap the benefits from this and we are facilitating that process. We will be taking a commission, and part proceeds will be going to schools in the area to help develop their art programme."