Art has been a source of comfort for 18-year-old Serenity Madoo since she was about five years old. As a child, she had difficulty sleeping, but instead of wrestling with sleep, she found herself sketching princesses and mystical creatures till the sun came up.
“I have this deep trust in my hands that they will know what to do even if I don't, and it never failed me.”
Madoo, of Arouca, is inspired by Caribbean mythology. She says she began going to galleries and live-drawing sessions at a young age and by 16, she was sketching in charcoal.
"What I've realised is that my love for art really never went away, and the majority of my best pieces still happen at night.”
Her second work of art to go on public display can be seen at the Rotunda Gallery at the Red House, Port of Spain. It's a clay sculpture of a mermaid on the edge of a riverbank, and also functions as a fountain.
"Honestly, I don't know anything when it comes to art, but I can paint and draw. Now I can make sculptures.
“Recently at school, they asked us to do 3D pieces for Cape. I had no experience with it whatsoever; that was my first-ever time making a water fountain.”
The upper-six student at St Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain, wants to be a surgeon.
She said she began sculpting her piece over Christmas.
"My work is self-taught, I just went with it. I bought the clay and did it. I have been told my great-grandfather, a person who I never met, used to do artistic stuff.”
Asked how she felt about being accepted at the gallery, she said, "Extreme joy, happiness and excitement. I never thought I would be there, and this being my second piece displayed at the Rotunda makes it even more unbelievable. My first piece was in October: it was a painting of the Haitian mythical mermaid creature Sukya."
Madoo admits art has begun to feel like work, since it is part of her school curriculum and there are regular deadlines.
“I'm working right now: some days I teach art to younger kids, and I do graphic design as well. I am illustrating a book for a lady who is writing a children's book, as well as building a mascot for my school sports day and throwing a sip-and-paint this February.”
Madoo intends to let her art do a lot of talking on issues she feels strongly about.
“I want my voice to be heard, and I feel I could do that with my art. I can speak on social issues and injustices without having to even speak. Often times, the message is much deeper when you can see it.”
Madoo's work is part of the gallery's first exhibition for the year – Wire, Sculpture, Miniature and Textured Art. The exhibition focuses on the use of varied materials and techniques such as wire, clay, wood, mixed media and paint. It began on January 15 and ends February 2.