The caribArt Project London Launch
by Tricia Trotman-Maraj
The caribArt project, conceptualized by artist Tricia Trotman-Maraj, aims to immortalize traditional Caribbean life and culture through works of art by Caribbean artists. This project was launched in the presence of His Excellency Orville London High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago on 24th October 2017 at Elizabeth James Gallery, London and has to some measure successfully penetrated the European retail market with fine art products that document Caribbean history and folklore. There are future plans of creating an anthology of Caribbean stories that are closely linked to pieces of work produced by artists from each Caribbean island.
The caribArt project is the first Caribbean regional platform of its kind that allows Caribbean based artists to access global markets with their work even as they continue to live at home and provide for their families whilst simultaneously generating employment in their communities.
caribArt Collections had in the past successfully partnered with other London-based organizations such as Elizabeth James Art Limited which is closely tied to the island of Dominica, DSKii Events, and Tropical Mas Association, two Jamaican lead powerhouses, to make the caribArt vision a reality. We successfully hosted the caribArt 'My Sugar Island' at the High Commission of Trinidad & Tobago, London U.K. in 2018 and we extend our gratitude to His Excellency Orville London, High Commissioner of Trinidad & Tobago, London, and his staff for their support. Highlights of this event can be seen on our 'Artists Blog' page.
Today we have stretched our wings and have collaborated with other Caribbean artists globally. On September 19th, 2020 caribArt Collections was featured at the tastefully decadent New York Art Show titled, 'Paintings in The Garden' hosted by Alicia Aberdeen Art LLC.
The positively vibrant and authentic images of the caribArt 'No Place Like Home Collection' which features decorative pillows/slips, and 'The Eden Collection' which features handcrafted jewelry by artist Thalia Mae of TMBoutiqueTNT were on display at this New York event. 'Paintings in the Garden' is an annual event and part of the proceeds will be donated to a charitable cause. We extend our gratitude to Alicia Aberdeen Art LLC for featuring us in this venture.
The caribArt project intends on making traditional Caribbean culture attractive to the diaspora youth and something to be appreciated and treasured by the rest of the world by creating positive images of sugar islands in the sun that speak of industrious, intelligent, and hardworking people where men and women, abled and disabled have access to equal opportunities for wealth creation and improved quality of life. The caribArt Project intends to complement the use of the oral tradition of passing on information from one generation to the next by preserving Caribbean culture for future generations via vibrant pieces of artwork that capture the spirit of the region by Caribbean people who know the stories behind their imagery best.
Tricia’s aim with the project is to instill pride in the region once again which has been marred by the drug trade, high rates of crime, social decline, and human trafficking by creating a Tourism experience product that every island in the Caribbean can benefit from but more so a product that if properly implemented and supported by regional territories will bring about positive social change as we use a strategically regional collaborative approach which will include educating children about our past using engaging methods that incorporate the use of technology in unique ways whilst maintaining the authenticity of the experience.
At caribArt workshops, British children and their parents have been able to participate in exciting storytelling workshops on Caribbean folklore that allowed them to artistically create their own portraits of the la diablesse, socouyant, papa bois, and douen. People visiting the gallery have been captivated especially by the use of colour, lighting and texture in the work that allows even the visually impaired to access the art through tactile experiences and they love it!
One major piece that stands out in the exhibition is titled ‘Things They Sold But Did Not Buy’. This piece brings a snippet of the tiny island of Tobago off the pages of historical records. It incorporates the Plymouth Post Office and a pamphlet from the year 1683 by a certain English Captain who placed this advertisement in a London real estate magazine advertising the sale of Tobago. It is believed that the description of the fertility of the island is what inspired Daniel Defoe to author the famous Robinson Crusoe in 1719 and thousands of tourists to visit ‘The Robinson Crusoe Cave’ in Tobago every year.
The caribArt Project has been a subject of study in the Tourism Department of the University of Westminster, U.K. This project follows the 2010 publication of West Indian Chronicles-Mamie by Tricia Trotman-Maraj a title aimed at preserving the Trinidadian creole language. This title now forms part of the International Corpus of English (ICE) global academic research project between the University of Münster, Germany and the University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago.
The caribArt Project calls on the support of Caribbean regional governments, publishers, printers, distributors, marketers and owners of large spaces within London and other European, Asian, and North American cities where this work can be exhibited to stand in solidarity with us as we offer real solutions that can re-brand the entire region and create opportunities for members of all Caribbean states especially in trying times such as these. It is time that we author our own story and successfully lead our nations into the next millennium as we create benchmarks for other countries to follow.
We hope, with your help, to have subsequent exhibits in every Caribbean island with workshops to be held especially at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad & Tobago. Through these exhibitions, we will raise awareness of the region's indigenous talent and add value to regional communities by hosting artistic workshops that will give artists fair exposure to global markets, and give global citizens access to Caribbean work.
We sincerely thank you for your support as we move forward in our efforts to immortalize a dying culture and re-write positive images of the Caribbean region through the creative works of its people.
The caribArt Project is an initiative of Tricia Trotman-Maraj copyright 2015