FEATURED Tobagonians at this years’ Levé Global show on Sunday, self-taught artist Jason Nedd of L‘Anse Fourmi, and designer Avien Osanie Thomas of Mason Hall, are calling for a stage for people in the creative industry to promote their work.
Nedd, spoke with Newsday Tobago during the Levé Global event at Villa Being, Arnos Vale, where several of his art pieces were featured.
“There was a time the fine arts centre was up and running to show our work, and they have promised it will be available again but it needs to be refurbished first," he said.
"I think a space is all the young people need to show what they can do since we are a tourist destination and visitors come here to see what Tobago is all about. Young artists already have that opportunity to give these visitors a piece of us to leave with. All we need is the stage.”
Levé Global’s fourth edition featured some of the region's aspiring and self-established artists and fashion designers including Caribbean fashion-social conscious powerhouse Robert Young/The Cloth; Carnival and resort wear designers Christian Boucaud; Tobago's Chef Xenon Thomas, owner of Brown Cow restaurant; as well as rising star in resort and swimwear design, Dominic Hutch.
Nedd said more international platforms can help promote the island and its people, and develop a robust creative industry. Having dedicated most of his life to improving his skill, Nedd told Newsday it was done through his love for the art. After becoming a professional artist 20 years ago, he said he was honoured to be the featured local artist at the Levé Global show and hopes his work will be recognised on the international stage.
“This was a good opportunity to get myself out there and to advance my work. My work is unique as I focus on a variety of different subjects from landscapes, subjects depicting our culture and history like the women washing in the river, and landmark buildings that are no longer in existence, the cocoa dancing and the oven bread baking. I want to keep Tobago alive through art.”
Nedd is preparing to introduce new work to the market with his own show within the coming months.
“I am taking my work to a higher level and to a different standard. I have been doing some research on how I can modernise my skill. Since I was self taught, there are things I haven’t learnt and must learn for me and my work to become outstanding. I want my work to be taken out and to be enjoyed by other people of different cultures."
He encourages young local artists to market themselves and network with other established artistes. He also encourages them to read and paint every day.
“Don’t be afraid, the world out here has a lot more opportunities. The avenue is much wider and clear for young people to get into. If it’s your passion or love, go after it.”
Nedd thanked his mother Pamela Stewart for her patience and support during his first years as a full-time artist. He hopes to use his success to make a contribution to Tobago in the near future.
Thomas, of Osanie Designs, also told Newsday she believes young artists and designers need more opportunities to market their work. Her exotic handbags and accessories, using cork, are fashioned to complement outfits for almost any occasion.
Thomas, who lives in Mason Hall, began creating unique bags and accessories three years ago. She said being featured at Levé Global has been a pleasure.
“The ambience and stature of the event comes in nicely with my designs and style. This is what all aspiring stylists, designers and artists need – an avenue to be seen and heard.
Thomas said her passion and love for fashion led her into designing. She now has a growing clientele and has plans to veer off into resort and foot wear designs.
Working from an online store at www.osanie.com and on social media, Thomas said she is challenged with sourcing and importing materials. “It is also very expensive which is why we must get to the point where we have a thriving creative industry. We already have more and more people getting into the industry on this island and it is something you can make a living from.”
She encourages young designers to research and continue trying to find their unique style.