THE work of over 80 artists using various media is on display at the Rotunda Gallery at the Red House in Port of Spain.
The exhibition, See the Beauty Around Us...Caring for our Environment, opened for public viewing from March 31. It runs until April 16 by appointment only as the Parliament follows the covid19 health protocols.
The exhibition’s theme is reflective of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13 (climate change), 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land).
Speaker of the House Bridgid Annisette-George, who toured the exhibition on Wednesday morning, said the artwork emphasised the importance of maintaining the country’s flora and fauna, something which it has been richly blessed with.
“It is important for us also in Parliament in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals," she said. "It is not just for governments. The attainment of the SDGs is for every individual in society. This decade is the decade of action and this year particularly, the world is geared towards looking at climate change and climate action.
“This exhibition also highlights climate action and is meant to sensitise people about the SDGs in general and in particular SDG 13. The duty is all around us. We all have a duty, an obligation to contribute to and maintain the duty.”
In addition, she said, “The pandemic has forced a lot of us to go outdoors and to become more sensitive to the flora and fauna that we used to drive by unnoticed."
She added that the Rotunda allowed a place for ordinary people to express themselves in the medium of art through paintings, photography, sculptures and landscaping.
Among the artwork featured were the photos of an officer of the Parliament Police Unit Derry Elahie. This was the first time she had shown her photographic work in public, and she described it as a thrilling moment.
Her pieces included A Peacock Gaze, Butterfly on Bloom, and Cayman in Solitude.
Elahie said she ventured into photography at a very young age and now uses it as a stress reliever from her tiring and hectic job as a policewoman.
“It started off as hobby and as I grew older, I started to like it more because I reminds me of my mother, who was always taking photos to capture the memory of something, no matter how little it was.
“It is a form of relaxation outside of work. TT is such a beautiful place and we have so many animals, greenery and so much unexplored places to experience and capture. The idea to explore and take photos and share it with others is such a joy.”
Another artist, Jasmine Bleasdell, 12, said she has been painting since she was four, and enjoys it very much. Bleasdell, who attends Princes Town East Secondary, said art would always be a part of her life because it makes her happy.
“I really like art and although I have not decided on a career, I just know that art and painting is something I want to do.
"I would like to attend the New York Academy of Arts. Painting gives me the avenue to express myself. If I'm frustrated after school, I do something that gives me pleasure and joy.”
She said her painting, The Falls of Maracas, done in acrylics on canvas, evokes calm, peace and relaxation.
The art pieces were chosen from submissions entered for the exhibition.