galvanize graphics by bruce cayone


Monday, September 18, 2006

Conversation: The Visual Arts Environment: 20 Years After

VAE poster compass and crown

In 1986, artists Edward Bowen and Steve Ouditt, both of whom had studied abroad and returned to Trinidad, founded an experimental independent study programme called the Visual Arts Environment. The main objective of the VAE was to facilitate a series of critical art workshops for young practising Trinidadian artists interested in developing their talents in the areas of contemporary art-making and thinking. It incorporated workshops in design, painting, drawing, and art theory, as well as talks and discussions by artists like Francisco Cabral, Anna Serrao, Christopher Cozier, Irenee Shaw, and Shastri Maharaj.

Based at Bowen's studio in St. Ann's, the VAE was eventually recognised by the University of the West Indies Extra Mural Department. VAE "graduates" included many of the younger generation of contemporary artists now working in Trinidad, such as Dean Arlen, Suzy Deyal, Che Lovelace, Mario Lewis, and the late Illya Furlonge-Walker.

Twenty years after the launch of this pioneering artist-led initiative, Galvanize will bring its founders, Edward Bowen and Steve Ouditt, together with art historian Courtey Martin and VAE "graduate" Mario Lewis to discuss the VAE's career, its impact on Trinidad's contemporary art scene, and its possible legacies and lessons for artists practising in this country today.

Eddie Bowen: "The collaboration sought to pitch the students squarely in a continuous dialogue and continuous meeting with art and design professionals, as well as a neverending pratical in studio...."

Artists and other members of the public are invited to join the discussion.

VAE poster boot and tightrope

The "conversation" on The Visual Arts Environment: Twenty Years After will be held on Thursday 21 September, 2006, at 6.30 pm, in the InterAmericas Space at CCA7

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:09 PM, September 23, 2006  
Blogger Nicholas said...

The Galvanize team welcomes comments from readers of the blog, once they are clearly signed by their authors.

3:41 PM, September 23, 2006  
Blogger Precious said...

Dear Teamster,

It’s a pity that you don’t have the courage to post my comments on the Galvanize Blog utilizing one of your three choices, of which I selected ‘annonymous’. Notwithstanding, I will happily reveal myself. My name is Precious Ramlogan.

Unfortunately, this was yet another self-gratifying yak ah d yak of ego stroking and no real discussion of the work was actually forthcoming. VISIBLY ABSENT WAS 'THE WORK'!!

How can the 'possible legacies' the VAE made on the contemporary art scene be acknowledged in the absence of any visual representation of the work that was done? I feel it was arrogant to assume your audience knew what work was produced and its contribution.

Ms. Courtey Martin did not construct an appropriate structure and point to facilitate satisfying discussions concerning ‘the VAE's career, its impact on Trinidad's contemporary art scene, and its possible legacies and lessons for artists practising in this country today’.

In my opinion, Ms. Courtey Martin was irresponsible to facilitate such an arrogant narcissistic display of male so-called intellectual ‘expertise’, both as an art historian with international accreditation, and as a woman.

Does the CCA, as the facilitator of this event, also have a responsibility to its audience and to up and coming younger artists? Should they desire continued support for initiatives like Galvanize to continue from the artistic and wider community, I suggest that they re-evaluate the impact of discussions such as these on upcoming impressionable young artistic minds.

Are certain artists vying for personal space while trying to define art in Trinidad in a self-serving fashion? Let us strive to remember that competition with others is driven by fear and ends in separation, while collaboration and sharing is love and nourishes inter-dependence.

Dear ‘boys’, powerful and meaningful artwork is always an act of the soul and does include the intellect. However, powerful and meaningful artwork is NOT the sole act of the intellect.

And, how arrogant and contemptuous is it for so-called avante-garde artists to whine on and complain that they cannot show their work in Trinidad…? This, and cries of racism smack heavily of victim status, which must surely feel disempowering for you!! Instead, it might be what the artists don’t bring to the table that is lacking!!! Additionally, you can always migrate abroad to your satisfying ‘international scene’ if you wish!! Or, you could find a constructive and inclusive way to inform and educate your audience with a lot more humility than I evidenced on Thursday night.

5:46 PM, September 23, 2006  
Blogger Precious said...

Dear Galvanize Team,

I would like to apologize for the ‘rough draft style’ of the first post and hope you will see the need to post this revised version. Thank you. Please find below the revised version.

Regards,
Precious

Unfortunately, this was yet another self-gratifying yak ah d yak of ego stroking and no real discussion of the work was actually forthcoming. VISIBLY ABSENT WAS 'THE WORK'!!

How can the 'possible legacies' the VAE made on the contemporary art scene be acknowledged in the absence of any visual representation of the work that was created? Why presume that your audience knew what work was produced and its contribution to Trinidad’s art scene?

I feel that Ms. Courtey Martin did not construct an appropriate structure in which satisfying discussions could be facilitated concerning ‘the VAE's career, its impact on Trinidad's contemporary art scene, and its possible legacies and lessons for artists practising in this country today’.

In my opinion, Ms. Courtey Martin facilitated a display of male so-called intellectual ‘expertise’. As an art historian with international accreditation, and as a woman, I wonder how she feels about her role on Thursday night’s panel? Actions like these send a clear message to the art community and to younger artists that the illusion of the male genius artistic narrative is alive and well. Is this another instance of The Emperor’s New Clothes?

Does the CCA, as the facilitator of this event, also have a responsibility to its audience and to up and coming younger artists? Should they desire continued support for initiatives like Galvanize to continue from the artistic and wider community, I suggest that they re-evaluate the impact of discussions such as these on upcoming impressionable young artistic minds.

Are certain artists vying for personal space while trying to define art in Trinidad in a self-serving fashion? Let us strive to remember that competition with others is driven by fear and ends in separation, while collaboration and sharing nourishes inter-dependence. Is the contemporary art scene becoming an ‘Us and Them’ reality?

Powerful and meaningful artwork is always an act of the soul and does include the intellect. Powerful and meaningful artwork is not the sole act of the intellect.

Avant-garde artists whining and complaining that they cannot show their work in Trinidad displays contempt for the art scene and the wider community. Intellectual language designed to baffle and impress us is also another sign of contempt. Rather, could it be that contemporary artists are not bringing enough to the table? Is the ‘international art scene’ really so satisfying?

You could strive to find more constructive and inclusive ways to inform and educate your audience and the general public. This requires humility.

8:05 AM, September 25, 2006  

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