FROM the communities of Gonzales and Belmont where he grew up, to the New York City art scene and to a current role as one of the TT’s greatest creative talents, it has been a rewarding, eight-decade journey for LeRoy Clarke.
From tomorrow, art lovers can experience some of the great paintings Clarke has brought to life, at \at the 101 Art Gallery. Titled Honouring LeRoy Clarke on His 80th Birthday and in Memory of his Mother Ellen Clarke, the exhibition provides a retrospective of works and a tribute to the influence of his mother, Ellen, as well as sale of recent paintings, said a media release
Not only is Clarke a proficient painter but he has also been noted for his poetry – his published works include Taste of Endless Fruit (1972), Douens (1976) and Eyeing De Word (2004). He has worked in stage production (as a member of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop) and in music as a member of the singing group, The Beamers, from age of 20-27. That was when he staged his first one-man exhibition of paintings at the Bank of Nova Scotia (currently Scotiabank) on Independence Square, Port of Spain.
From 1967 to 1980 he was based in New York City where he had more public displays of his works and was a resident artist at the Studio Museum of Harlem.
Local folklore became a major theme in Clarke’s work along with topics of consciousness and spirituality, mostly fuelled by African influences. Among his rewards are an Honorary Doctor of Letters from The University of Trinidad and Tobago, which was bestowed in December 2008.
A leader within the Orisha community of TT, Clarke celebrated his 80th birthday last November 7.
This week's events, which involves a display of 73 paintings, start with a three-day series of previews at the 101 Art Gallery; tomorrow and Friday (12 pm- 6 pm, each day) and Saturday (10 am-2 pm) before the main show from 2 pm-5 pm that same day.
The exhibition continues until December 19 at 84 Woodford Street, Newtown.