ALLISON MYKOO has been painting all her life for pleasure and now she is using it to help, in a small way, to save lives.
Four years ago her desire to marry art with something meaningful led her to team up with her physician, Dr Stacey Chamely, and the non-profit organisation Community Chest Ltd (CCL).
CCL raises funds to help save the lives of sick and underprivileged children with heart conditions that require corrective surgeries that are not available locally.
The result of that "marriage" was SerendipiTea, a fundraiser and mini artisan fair at Mykoo's Hibiscus Drive home in Palmiste. The money raised from the sale of a tea plate filled with decadent, homemade goodies was donated to CCL.
The fourth edition of SerendipiTea 4, held on January 30, attracted a gathering of many of Mykoo's teacher colleagues, former principals, as well as students, neighbours and friends.
Mykoo has been teaching art at Naparima Girls’ High School, San Fernando, for the past 22 years.
Sitting on a swing in her yard, Mykoo recalled how her friends would just come over and hang out in her peaceful garden to view her art and sip on some tea.
Although her home is close to the city, the shady trees and many birds and wildlife running through her yard provided a kind of serene space, conducive to the creativity she wanted to share for a charitable cause.
“I wanted to do something with Dr Chamely because I think she is great and gives so much of herself and I wanted to do something to help with her organisation, CCL, and also use it as an opportunity to get my art out there."
So the idea was developed into an event to use the tea to bring people together, give them an opportunity to enjoy the ambiance while supporting local artisans displaying little things in this very natural setting.
“This is my fourth year and it just keeps growing. It’s not public because this is my home, but I invite a lot of my past pupils and friends who come to help and also relax.”
At SerendipiTea 4, a painting corner for students, handcrafted jewellery, homemade fudge, plants, and some of her original artwork transformed into a calendar were on display.
The 12 original oil paintings all inspired by yoga postures were turned into a calendar to signal the start of a new decade of life – a decade of new beginnings. The calendars are for sale.
Each painting was used for a different month of the calendar, each carrying an inspirational message such as, “today is going to be a good day”, “trust the process” and “surrender.”
For January, it was “new beginnings”, and “surrender” –which is one of her favourite pieces– was used for December.
“I think that was the lesson I personally learnt last year (2019), surrendering to a lot of things that was going on around me, that I had no control over.”
She said yoga, which she was encouraged to get involved in several years ago, has brought a deeper peace and purpose to her life.
“It has brought lot of peace and stillness to my life which I love. Art does that as well, but yoga is amazing. I find myself not reacting to a situation as I would normally do, but let it be and respond in a manner that would not cause conflict.”
As she grows older her passion for art and her desire to teach, to inspire others, especially the younger generation, to develop that same love and enthusiasm has intensified rather than waned.
“As I grow I change with the wind,” she said of her choice of mediums, styles, techniques.
“I go with inspiration.”
Anyone willing to contribute to CCL can make donations to Republic, Royal, First Citizens and Scotia banks.