As part of the efforts to promote and encourage the growing feelings of national pride, in the 1962 Independence era, the Trinidad and Tobago authorities commissioned outstanding creative talents to produce works for public exhibition and also staged art competitions to highlight local culture.
Amongst the doyens who were called into action was Sybil Atteck, whose bright watercolour paintings and depictions of the national heritage and culture – a prime example being Flag Wavers, Victoria Square, had helped launch her into the zenith of her popularity during the 1950s and 1960s.
A prominent member of a select group of creative talents who hailed from the Chinese community, which was headlined by the esteemed Carlisle Chang, Atteck, art-schooled in England, the USA, Peru and Italy, was approached to provide works that would be featured throughout the country before, during and after the initial Independence era, a media release said.
At 27, Willi Chen, whose parents were immigrants from China’s Guangdong Province, was one of the younger creatives involved in the Independence celebrations, through his submission to the national art festival that took place amidst the activities.
Boosted by his self-taught approach, Chen developed a multitude of talents that also included the areas of metal sculpting and writing. He has produced several public installations of his own during subsequent decades, such as the Solar Marinorama mural at the Central Bank in Port of Spain and the Triumphant Christ monument at the entrance to the Christ the King RC Church in Les Efforts, San Fernando.
Both Atteck and Chen will have works included in over 200 items that will be exhibited during the 2021 edition of 101 Art Gallery’s Precious Paintings, which features displays of very rare, original works of art – paintings, lithographs, sculptures, bronzes etc – created by a venerable listing of icons, the release said.
The upcoming show, hosted by the 101 Art Gallery, will take place at the Art Society in Federation Park, from September 18-25.
It will be graced by both local and international greats, including Michel Jean Cazabon, Theodore Gudin, Jackie Hinkson, Dunieski, LeRoy Clarke and Luise Kimme.
Opening hours are 12 pm-6 pm from Tuesday-Friday and 10 am-2 pm on Saturday.
Private viewings can be arranged for the pre-event previews that will take place at the gallery on September 15-17, between 12 pm and 5 pm.