THE next five days will be the last chance to see the Rotunda Gallery’s Wire, Sculpture, Miniature and Textured Art exhibition.
With a shift away from the usual paintings, the Rotunda Gallery, at the Red House in Port of Spain has 83 pieces of textured, mixed media and 3D artwork on display until Friday.
Procedural clerk and curator of the Rotunda Gallery Keiba Jacob-Mottley said the idea behind the newest exhibition was to keep the gallery “relevant and fresh,” and to ensure a wide cross section of local artists were being represented.
“The gallery has been in existence for three years so, over time, we will be able to see the type of work shown. Sculpture is one of the things we don’t get very often so we wanted to do sculpture or 3D-type work to encourage artists to push the envelope a bit, as well as to encourage those artists who do that type of work to submit pieces.”
Of the 64 artists, five are 18 years old and under, with the youngest being 13-year-old Jayda Ramjattan. Many of the artists used recycled materials in their pieces and subjects include portraits, culture and nature such as birds, flowers, landscapes, seascapes and trees.
The pieces displayed are a wide range of sculpture using clay, wood, wire, wood, and pieces of quilling, mixed media, mosaics, encaustic paintings, and more. And the finished pieces are purposefully rough to highly polished, brightly coloured to the monochromatic, thought-provoking, unusual or simply beautiful.
“It’s interesting to see how people use different materials to create 3D work and how they stepped out of their comfort zones,” said Jacob-Mottley.
Relatively a new artist, Reanne Timothy submitted a tree made out of copper wire and plastic beads called In Bloom.
“It was inspired by the poui tree because I love to see poui in bloom. And I really just wanted to give my own twist on it.”
Timothy started painting in September 2022 so, she said, the art world is still new to her. She started with abstract work but wanted to branch off into realism so she recently started doing portraits, but she is still trying out different media and techniques.
In Bloom was her first time working with wire and she decided to do it because she wanted to experiment with a different medium and challenge herself. She said she was very excited to be selected for the exhibition, especially since the beadwork took a lot of time and patience.
Jordan Rogers had two of his wooden sculptures selected for the Wire, Sculpture, Miniature and Textured Art exhibition – Ray of Life and Menn, Kona.
The 18-year-old artist had been carving for a little over three years as a hobby but, he also paints and draws while doing paralegal studies at UWI.
Rogers said for Ray of Life he could not decide between carving a sting ray or a manta ray, as they both symbolised ideas like freedom and individuality, so the piece was a combination of the two sea creatures.
Menn and Kona means men and woman respectively in Old Norse and the pattern carved into the wood is the Celtic infinity knot.
“This was my first carving that was not African or of an animal. I wanted to do something different so I did some historical research and learned about Old Norse culture and then I researched the art.”
Makeba Alexander has three pieces demonstrating her quilling skills at the exhibition.
Quilling is the art of rolling, shaping and gluing strips of paper into coils or scrolls to create decorative designs. She started using the technique to make handmade greeting cards in 2015. It became so popular people wanted to frame them so she began doing the work on canvas.
On display are Blissful Hummingbird, Scarlet Ibis and Patriotic Pan Man.
“This is not the first time I showed at the Rotunda, so this year, they called me and asked if I would submit two pieces for this exhibition since quilling is not very common. The humming bird is a staple of my greeting cards but The Pan Man and the Scarlet Ibis, which were created for this exhibition, those were the first time I actually tried larger pieces.”
Alexander said the subjects were chosen because she wanted to do something patriotic and it was the Carnival season.
“When you think of Trinidad and Tobago you think of our unique and diverse culture, our music, and the vibrancy of people. This (Patriotic Pan Man) was created as a reminder that no matter where we are in the world the steelpan will always be a distinct sound that resonates in one’s heart mind body and soul.
“The other aims to showcase the beauty and poise of the scarlet ibis in its natural environment and serves as a constant reminder that our natural environment must be respected, protected and preserved at all times.”
Davi Ramkallawan, who usually produces digital art, created a piece called To the Beach – Off the Beaten Path. It is based on a fond memory from her childhood – a trip to Tobago with her family in which a local fisherman guided them to a beautiful beach “off the beaten path.”
She captured the scene at sunset by braiding dried and stained plant leaves into a mat. Decorative stones, rope, clothes pins, coloured beads, hair accessories and other items were used to add texture to create coconut trees, pristine sand, a boat in the water and other features.
She said although her art is mostly digital, she likes to work with her hands so makes desk organisers and bookmarks for friends and family with recycled materials.
“I grew up on a small farm so I learned to multi-purpose different items. So I wanted to challenge myself to attempt this art piece, just to see how it turned out.”
She said she had doubts and almost did not submit the piece for the exhibition, but with the support and feedback from her family and encouragement to submit by one of the gallery assistants, she stuck with and submitted the piece, and it was chosen.
“I felt very proud to be selected as, although this is my fifth or sixth showing at the Rotunda, it is my first 3D piece. I enjoy expressing my feelings and thoughts through art. It is a sincere joy to service the community and the practice of using different materials to create the pieces teaches me a greater appreciation of expression, skill and technique development through resourcefulness and creativity.”
She said she will be doing more 3D work in the future.