For over four decades, Sabina Allard has been imparting her knowledge of visual and performing arts to scores of students, challenging and encouraging them to explore their artistic imagination.
In 2015 after 41 years of teaching, she left the service having reached retirement age. But this dynamic 67-year-old woman is far from retired.
"I love creating acrylic paintings and pastel drawings as they represent my impressionist style. I also do screen-printing designs and tie-dye," Allard said.
Her love for this cultural form is reflected in her paintings centred on people and things dear to her. Her favourite time of the year is Christmas, followed by Carnival.
Allard added, "Most of my subjects are about Christmas and Carnival. I also do commission pieces. I use photographs and videos to capture what I want to do. I also create ceramic pieces."
Allard is one of several artists whose work is being featured in an exhibition at Arnim's Art Galleria Ltd at Gulf View in La Romaine. It runs until January 26, and features a "collection of gems from our local educators and precious paintings."
Allard is a member of two art NGOs – Women in Arts Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (WIAOTT) and Arts by Creative Design (ABCD).
In 1974 at 19, she began her teaching career at San Fernando Boys' RC school, then went to the Teachers' Training College a few years later.
In 1983, she was posted at St Benedict's College in La Romaine, where she taught visual arts and arts design until 2015.
Allard holds a postgraduate diploma in education in visual and performing arts and a bachelor's degree in visual arts from the University of the West Indies.
She also has a studio at the family's home at Purcell Street, Vistabella.
The cheerful and talented woman held and still holds many portfolios.
Allard is a member of the parang group Los Dinamicos which comprised her siblings – Dr Francisca Allard, Genevieve Allard-Seales, Sepherina Allard, and Philip Allard and close friends.
Apart from singing, Allard also plays the toc toc.
She marked the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination of advanced art and art and design in Barbados.
She also served as a judge at Carnival events in San Fernando and environs.
The Allard family is originally from Moruga, where the late patriarch Philip Allard was the principal of Moruga RC and Princes Town RC primary schools.
The family relocated in the 1960s to the San Fernando area but frequently returned to their hometown in Grand Chemin.
"From around 12, I was taking part in art competitions. I won two bicycles by entering competitions in the newspapers. That is how we learnt to ride bikes. I remember placing third in an art competition by Berger Paints Ltd at 19," Allard said.
She also recalled her parents' influence on her passion for art.
"Daddy had drawings of plants, so I knew he had an idea about art. Daddy went to the Catholic Training College. He received distinctions in mathematics and music and high commendations in art and agriculture. I remember being in form five, and daddy asked if I wanted to go (art) lessons. Mr Sookoo of Naparima College helped me with scenery and how to mix colours," Allard said.
"Mommy (Bartholina Allard) had an eye for design. She would sew clothes for us without plans, and they came out great. It was seven of us, so she used the same cloth for all."
Allard's experience and skills in the art form have allowed her to help create designs for Los Dinamicos members for different events.
She also credited her then lecturers at UWI, Ken Critchlow and "Mr Ovid" for their input, saying they helped her tremendously.
In 2002, Allard won the Prime Minister's Award for innovation and invention in the artistic process category.
The ceremony hosted by the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (Niherst) was an initiative supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education.
Some of Allard's creations at the ongoing exhibition include images of Los Dinamicos members, the late "queen of parang" Daisy Voisin and several animals.
Other artists at the exhibition are Reita Antoine, Raymond Alexander, Hilma Smith Barnes, Allison S Mykoo, Judy Mungal, and many others.