Speyside High's Quishang Jacob, 12, youngest artist on Tobago art trail

Quishang Jacob get joy out of painting as he applies brush strokes to a peice entitled Island.  Photo by David Reid
Quishang Jacob get joy out of painting as he applies brush strokes to a peice entitled Island. Photo by David Reid

A paintbrush, paint and canvas is all it take to get 12-year-old artist Quishang Jacob in a cheerful mood.

“I get to paint and explore different types of techniques in art,” the form one student of Speyside High School told Newsday Kids.

The teen, from the village of Plymouth, shot into the spotlight on November 3, as the youngest artist taking part in the Man and the Biosphere Forest Reserve project.

The project showcases the work of nine of Tobago’s artists and can be seen publicly in communities close to the forest reserve as part of an initiative aimed at marrying concern for the environment with the talents of the local artists.

But just how does Quishang feel about seeing his painting on the art trail.

“I feel good – it definitely is a good feel.”

His artistic inspiration, he said, began when he was much younger.

“I’ve always painted but I had the opportunity to further my artistic skills when I entered the Speyside High School.”

Though he remains uncertain of his future career in the field, he said his paintings took less than a week to complete.

“Two days in art class – outline it and then fill it.”

His teacher Tomley Roberts beamed when asked to about his star student.

“I am very excited – I’ve had him since he was a young age, and he does some excellent work. I think the future is bright for him. He has a very vivid imagination and now that he is at Speyside High School where the action is happening, he is exposed to other teachers as well as different styles. So I think the future for him is very bright and I’m very happy that he is willing to learn and willing to develop his artistic abilities so I am ecstatic.”

Quishang Jacob, 12, an aspiring artist who gets joy out of painting. Photo by David Reid

He said Quishang is one of the most talented art students he has ever taught. Roberts said he beams with pride to see work of his students on show on his way to school.

“Honestly, I really do feel proud about it, knowing fully well that we worked tirelessly on that specific project just as he entered Speyside High School. So I’m really, really pleased to have been mentoring him and developing his artistic abilities. Every day I look at it – the colours are so dynamic, so I am really happy.”

He said the painting, which is posted in Speyside is titled Pollinators.

“It speaks about the butterfly being an agent of pollination – touching all our flowers and so forth and they are a very important part of our food industry.”

He added: “The whole thrust of the Man on the Biosphere initiative was to show the correlation between human beings and the environment and the pollinator, the butterfly, is an important part of the environment, and it provides us with food security because without the insect, we would have some challenges.”

He said the art teachers at the school remain committed to guiding their students.

“We continue to do the best that we can at Speyside High School and no matter where our charges are, we are willing, all our teachers are committed to working with our students and we would continue to work with them, create the necessary tapestry for them so that they can be model students in TT.”

Quishang Jacob concentrates on one of his paintings at Roberts Street, Sou Sou Lands, Tobago. Photo by David Reid

Quishang’s mother, Priscilla Jacob, said, “I am very proud that my son is excelling in art.”

She said she is 100 per cent in full support of her son's artistic expressions, adding that all three of her boys are budding artists.

“I think they just have it in them, and they have been doing this for a very long time.”

Quishang, she said, focuses more on food. “So the art shows up in the food. He is into food, so he is painting food items, and anything associated with food.”

Seeing his painting on her way to the eastern end of the island, warms her heart “each and every time,” she said.

“It's an honour, you feel good, you feel like you didn’t waste your money on sending him to classes – you feel great. It’s definitely a rewarding experience to pass and see it, it motivates me to push him into continuing.”

She said she would continue to assist them whenever and wherever help is required.

“It is a good thing. I invest because I try to show the way how the world is now – when the covid19 pandemic hit, so many people were out of jobs, but the artists didn’t go home, musicians didn’t go home. At the end of the day, I feel like art is an extra but a sure source of income, he could be an entrepreneur, run his own business, do his own stuff.”

To other students interested in art and co-curricular activities, she said: “I would tell them to pursue it, don’t look at anybody else's dream as your own, you make your own. Whatever your gift, you take your gift and continue working on it because not everybody has the same gift. His might be art, but yours may be spelling, reading or whatever, everybody has to pursue what their talent is.

She urged other parents to follow their children’s dream and passions.

“I think parents should invest in their children and come off that pedestal that you have to do academics and be a lawyer or a doctor. Sometimes the children are telling you what they want to be, parents does see it but I think sometimes we does try to push them into what we want for them – as opposed to leaving the child to choose their path. Parents should be there to support them wherever they go – allow them to bloom into whatever flower they want to become."


"Speyside High’s Quishang Jacob, 12, youngest artist on Tobago art trail"

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