Went to the Galvanize launch on Thursday evening at CCA7. What exactly is Galvanize? To answer that question, you might as well ask: What exactly is Caribbean art? Galvanize is a forum that seeks to adress the perception of contemporary art (and artists) in Trinidad and Tobago – they’re there, but are they really? Do we see them? Hear them? Are we willing to be engaged in the discourse?
Contemporary art has traditionally been sidelined in our culture – it’s certainly not as popular (at least with art collectors) as the landscape and still life pieces that offer themselves as representations of the Caribbean experience. But there’s the rub – this region (and certainly T&T, being a veritable melting pot of cultures, represents a microcosm of the Caribbean experience) is incredibly complex. Don’t we ever wonder what’s behind the poui trees and idyllic river scenes? Contemporary art, with its candid questions and innovative points of view, often touches nerves. But to me, great art not only makes you feel, it makes you think. Wonder. Question. And it does all this by being interactive – making the viewer part of the conversation. This is art for the 21st century!
It’s incredibly reassuring to me that there are new voices willing to make use of the media and technology available to them to initiate national dicussion and be open to us participating in it. Communication fosters understanding and that’s what we need more than ever. Nine relatively unknown artists applied to be part of this initiative and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say. As the project’s advisory team explains:
Galvanize aims to create a space rather than grab one.
A special “thank you” to multimedia artist Elspeth Duncan, who, though not part of the Galvanize contintent, hosted an open studio on the night of the launch, at which I saw a film she had made about one of her pieces. That’s another thing about art that is forged in authenticity – it speaks to you in just the right way, at just the right time.
Galvanize will be visible in and around Port of Spain until October 26. Let’s open our eyes.