EXPO Art Tobago (EAT), the largest art collection in the country, will take place at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex in Tobago from November 29 to December 2.
The brainchild of Tobago-based artist Martin Superville, the four-day multi-dimensional and multi-layered exposition will see the Shaw Park Cultural Complex transformed into a multi-room and multi-level art gallery to accommodate the artwork, the works of artisans, live demonstrations, art lectures, live performances and much more.
The organising committee, which comprises Superville, administrative co-ordinators Raynardo Hassanally and Dr Rhea Marcano, artist Jeannine Crouch and volunteer trainer Ann Marie Sealy, was recruited earlier this year and developed with the objective to put on a show of this nature, since it has never been done before.
Hassanally told Newsday the team’s objective is to have approximately 1,000 pieces of art from hundreds of artists throughout TT on display. Additionally, a section on the first floor of the complex will host the Artisans Court to highlight other works including that of sculptors, designers, nail technicians, jewellers, tattoo artists, cartoonists, craftsmen, painters and photographers.
He added: “This is the first time an art event of this scale has ever been done in TT and we really want to showcase all artists throughout TT. This will be the largest single display of art in its many forms in the Caribbean, curated by professionals for the consumption of the local and international audience.”
Hassanally also said the initiative aims to create a signature event that can become a fixture on the tourism calendar, one that will make Tobago an art destination in the Caribbean, as well as creating a cultural profile for art in the country’s overall landscape.
“This art exposition in Tobago can potentially expand the country’s economic portfolio through the creative industries, providing substantial economic benefits for citizens,” Hassanally said.
Among the artists who have already confirmed their participation are Jackie Hinkson, Bill Trotman, Brian Jordan, Ronald Rodney, Jeannine Crouch, Chris Thomas, Sundiata, Dale Angus, Ted Arthur and Dillon Richards. An invitation is still out to artists and artisans who are not yet on board to get involved and be part of the largest display of art in its many forms in the Caribbean.
EAT is also intent on encompassing many different art forms.
The organisers will incorporate elements of modern art such as graphic design, cartoons, animation and body art, which will all be highlighted in the Artisans Court. The main feature of the exhibition will be the recently acquired Michel-Jean Cazabon Collection, which was bought by the Government and will be displayed in Tobago for the first time. Hassanally said EAT has the support of the Tobago Visual Arts Association and Women in Art Association. Also, a number of businesses in Tobago has stepped up in support, along with the Tobago House of Assembly, in principle, and the Ministry of Tourism.
The first two days of the Expo Art Tobago will be dedicated to school-age children, as a primary focus of EAT is to transfer the love of art and the culture of art to the younger generation. During these days, there will be workshops to educate children on art and teach them about the various art forms which might lead them to careers in art.