Indra Persad Milowe tells stories of Trinidad and Tobago through paintings

Trinidad born, US-based artist Indra Persad Milowe -
Trinidad born, US-based artist Indra Persad Milowe -

INDRA PERSAD MILOWE is a TT-born artist living and working in Salem, Massachusetts.

Milowe told WMN via an e-mail exchange on July 4, that her work brings to life many of her childhood memories of growing up in TT in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The retired general, ophthalmic and psychiatric nurse has worked in England, Malta, Trinidad and the US.

"Through British Nurses Overseas, I was able to work in different countries."

"I was born in Boodhoo Trace, Debe, and grew up in Rapsey Street, Curepe.

"In my youth, I wanted to study art. My interest was in nature, still life and design. I adored my high school art teacher, Mrs Helga Mohammed. She was from Madrid, Spain, and married to a Trinidadian.

"On my first day in her class at St Augustine Girls' High School, she wrote on the blackboard: 'Art is not just a painting hanging up on a wall, art is in every aspect of your daily life.'

Indra Persad Milowe's Hindu Wedding on the Beach. -

"My paintings were chosen for the school’s yearbook for two consecutive years."

Milowe said when she was 15, she painted from nature – orchids on a branch. At age 16, she did a still life: a display of an apple, pear, and a bunch of grapes.

"Those two paintings and all the incredible reviews that came with them lifted my confidence in my artwork."

Milowe left Trinidad at age 18 and is now 72 years old.

"I decided to go back to art during my retirement and my preferred medium is acrylic paint.

"For my very first painting in retirement, I thought about all the kitchens that I had cooked in. My favourite was the kitchen of my paternal grandmother (Agee, in Hindi). She cooked with three chulhas (outdoor clay stoves). This required a lot of skill to manipulate the pieces of wood, to keep the flame burning correctly. To become an 'eligible bride,' one of the requirements was to be able to puff a paratha (flatbread), with the right texture and consistency. After mastering that skill, you are allowed to place 'your handprint' on her kitchen wall. It was like a graduation! That kitchen brought up a lot of memories of different foods that were cooked for different festivals. Hence my first painting was my grandmother’s kitchen."

She said as she began to plan out that painting, she remembered the smell of freshly made
​ladoos (little balls of chickpeas and honey), which was a favourite dessert of hers and of Lord Ganesh. Lord Ganesh is the Remover of all Obstacles and the first Hindu deity to be worshiped in all festivals and ceremonies.

"Therefore, my second painting was Ganesh Chaturthi (Ganesh’s birthday).

"My Agee’s mantra was: 'Eat your dahl and roti and God will make a way.'

"There is a personal story behind many of my paintings. I painted every single festival celebrated in TT as well as all of the folklore stories that I heard while growing up."

"My husband is American-born board certified psychiatrist George Milowe MD. He is retired and an emeritus member of the Massachusetts Board of Medicine," she told WMN.

They are the parents of Joshua Satyam Milowe, an animation artist.

"My husband and son are American and have learnt a lot by all my research and art on TT," she said.

She is a regular contributor to the Rotunda Gallery at the Parliament building, Port of Spain, having had her work displayed digitally 18 times at the gallery.

Indra Persad Milowe walks through her art installation Kailash: The Art Box in Derby Square in Salem, Massachusetts, US. -

Milowe is the recipient of two grants from the city of Salem, Massachusetts, to beautify the historic district.

In 2023, she attended the Singapore International Festival of Arts and was an artist-in-residence at Mauser Eco House, Parrita, Costa Rica, in 2021.

Milowe said, "There is so much advice out there about all the different skills and qualities folks need to develop in order to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment and often it can feel overwhelming.

"So, if I had to break it down to just the three skills that matter most I would tell newly-minted artists, just follow my three P’s: planning, persistence and publicity.

"Planning: I lie on my bed looking at the blank ceiling or on my sofa gazing at the blue sky, with clouds of every size and shape dancing across. From this relaxed outer view comes inner pictures that I can use for my paintings. I always have pencils and a sketchpad close by to start the project.

The Ship of State of TT by Indra Persad Milowe. -

"Persistence: I must choose forms, shapes and colours to put my inner visions onto the canvas. I constantly refine each painting as I go along. My goal is not perfection; more like reaching a high peak.

"Publicity: What is the point of being an artist if I cannot reach out and bring pleasure, educate and even inspire the viewer. Hence I strive to get frequent press reviews in newspapers and magazines. I also love exhibitions and my paintings have been seen in public libraries and other public buildings."

Milowe said she admires Georgia O’Keeffe who was an American artist and known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes referred to as the Mother of American Modernism; Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction and other arts; and Frida Kahlo who was a Mexican painter known for her many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artefacts of Mexico.

For more information on Indra Persad Milowe and her work, visit


"Indra Persad Milowe tells stories of Trinidad and Tobago through paintings"

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