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Moon, Light and Shadow

ART, POETRY, LOVE – THE MAGIC OF JOURNEYS

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Creativity

Art Spaces – Hayden Smith

Hayden Smith (5)
Unity

Trinidadian artist, Hayden Smith, his wife Anna and son Johnathan, are three people I have enjoyed getting to know in the short space of time I’ve been working at the Art Society of T&T. They are a warm, kind and good-natured family and it is my honour to feature Hayden in part three of my Art Spaces series.

NEALA: Looking at Synergie de Trois, what was your thought process behind the pieces selected for this exhibition?

HAYDEN: When I was presented with the opportunity to exhibit in Synergie de Trois, I wanted to also create pieces that would blend in with the genres of the other artists, Felder and R. Gerard Fulchan. This is what inspired the abstracts. It started out as setting out to combine 2D and 3D concepts but also include a more spiritual perspective, as all of the pieces came from within. I represented two different styles for this show: realism and abstract. I love nature and try to get close to it and bond as often as possible. You will see this reflected in my realism pieces. I try bringing that beauty to my audience, as often our lives are so hectic that we tend not to notice life’s natural treasures.

Hayden Smith (4)

NEALA: I am particularly drawn to the pieces created with wood elements, (like Unity). What inspired you to work with wood that way?

HAYDEN: I’ve always liked working with wood and seized the opportunity to develop a new technique to combine wood into my art, as a means of adding dimension to the pieces. Other materials used in some of the pieces are paper, metal and fibre.

Hayden Smith (3)

NEALA: You told me once that you are a mechanical engineer. What, do you think, is the relationship between your profession and your creative outlet?

HAYDEN: The average person would not associate engineering and art as these two areas are often seen to have opposite thought processes. One is structured and precise, the other, one of utter freedom of expression. I see the combination as the window to unlimited creativity.

NEALA: This your second exhibition. Tell me what you enjoyed the most about it?

HAYDEN: With this exhibition, I really enjoyed working on developing the new style. It was one of total fun and wonder as there was no restriction to form or boundaries while creating the pieces. Each one evolved during the actual individual creation. I, however, missed working with my son as in the last exhibition. (In 2015, Hayden exhibited with his son, Johnathan Smith in Elementary, A Father and Son Exhibition.)

What’s next for you?

The sky is the limit. I hope to continue to develop new techniques and working with my son again. Maybe turning some of the events and experiences of the recent past into creative expressions.

~

I wish Hayden the very best. On a personal note, this piece captured  me. There was movement to it. I loved the contrast between the dark, hard, angular wooden pieces and the fragile, bright pink, elliptical lines. I imagine that this is what the sound of wonder looks like. On many mornings during this exhibition I stood transfixed, hypnotised by the music of this piece.

Hayden Smith (2)

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Close up showing detail of elements

Hayden’s facebook page.

Art Spaces – Felder

Felder Miniature Houses (2)

Langdon Tremayne Frauenfelder, self-taught Trinidadian artist, builds miniature replicas of early 20th Century houses. As a child he was intrigued by the creative expressions of older siblings, and one day, while watching his eldest brother build a replica of Skeletor’s Castle Grayskull, his imagination was set on fire, and he built his first house out of a Corn Flakes box. That was the beginning of his fascination with scale models and the inspiration that motivated him to create his own. Felder, as he is known as in the art community, is currently exhibiting eight miniature houses as a part of the Synergie de Trois exhibition at the ASTT Gallery.

Continue reading “Art Spaces – Felder”

Art Spaces – R. Gerard Fulchan

Dawning of the Eclipsing Soul - R. Gerard Fulchan
Dawning of the Eclipsing Soul – R. Gerard Fulchan Medium: Painted Carving (Acrylic paint on Trinidad Mahogany), 2016. Size: 65″×19.5″.

Gerard Fulchan is a Trinidadian artist and poet who is currently exhibiting at the ASTT Gallery. Fulchan works with both hand and power tools and prefers Trinidadian Teak and Mahogany over other hardwoods. The above piece is one of many I found particularly intriguing. Continue reading “Art Spaces – R. Gerard Fulchan”

Long Time Mas in T&T’s Carnival

For Carnival this year I had the opportunity to write about one of the historical tenets of T&T Carnival: Traditional Mas and Old Mas.

Photo by Stephen Broadbridge
Photo by Stephen Broadbridge

“Blue soap, grease and mud; herring-bone corsets, cosquelle bonnets and bustles; papier mache, bamboo, chip chip shells and rice-bags; colour-rich velvet, lace, satin and silk; warm waxy scent of face paint; chants and lyrics echoing with history; gestures and rhythmic dances flexed into muscle memory; lance and shield, crack of whips and breaths of fire. This is Mas. This is 230 year old Traditional Mas and it is living, breathing, evolving and still story-telling in our Carnival today.”    Read more: Maco People Magazine. Pg14.  http://digital.turn-page.com/i/435158 Continue reading “Long Time Mas in T&T’s Carnival”

Unexpected Gifts

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In February of this year I created Write Club to bring together other creatives with a passion for writing. It was also meant to be a space for me to prepare for an upcoming writers workshop that I’d qualified for. 10 months later I am overwhelmed whenever I think about how much Write Club has exceeded my expectations. It is truly a space for creative growth with a fantastic energy which would not have been possible without the people who decided to join. They have made Write Club what it is. Last week we all met at V&J’s to celebrate the end of our first Focused Project Segment, (and which very well might’ve been our first annual Write Club Lime), and my super awesome club members presented me with an unexpected and beautiful gift.
Continue reading “Unexpected Gifts”

That’s Poetry

poetry-and-types-of-poetry

“I’m not surprised that your writing is going well. It’s who you are. The way you speak, the way you look at life, that’s poetry. You are, poetry.”

One of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.  🙂

A Sub-par Reality?

backtothegrind

Journal entry: 18th July 2014

I have to say, it has been less than a week since I came back from the most meaningful two weeks of my life and I am having some difficulty settling back in. I’ve always understood that there is a HUGE difference between doing what I want to do and doing what I have to do but I’ve never felt the difference this acutely before.

Adjustments and change have always been a bit tricky for me to navigate and I’m aware that it’s not ok to crawl into bed at 7pm just so I won’t be alone with my thoughts. I wake up early as usual, all excited about my day and raring to go at 4am. Then I remember that I have to spend most of my day in an un-fulfilling role, and I hide under the covers until I absolutely have to drag myself out of bed.

Those two weeks felt more real to me than this reality. While I understand that it will always feel more rewarding and fulfilling doing what I want to do instead if what I have to do, the experience was so much more than that.  I remember, on our last day, as we were having breakfast together for the last time, most of us were thoughtful and a bit sad. We all already knew that our lives were forever changed by this experience.

As we talked about what we each be doing the next day I had shrugged and said “Oh well, back to the real world.” Then immediately realized how incorrect that statement was. My life, my world before the Creative Retreat, now seems like the false one. My life has changed in ways I never would have dreamed and my reality before those two weeks  seems unreal to me now. 

Today 20th September:

I am still having dreams about writing, being around our workshop table and having excerpts to read. In the dreams I hear Professor Funso’s voice: “You must think about what it is you are trying to say.” Then ‘Aunty’ Merle says “But what you really mean by that?”

I wake up with words I have to write down which I quickly forget when thoughts of the office weasel their way in. But I am writing every day.

This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Not just because of what I learned about writing but also because of the incredible people I met. I will never forget how it felt to meet and spend time with people who share this singular passion. We were all storytellers and it was an honour to have met so many brave, talented, interesting, warm and inspiring people.

Those two weeks have left an imprint on me. In so many ways. Since then I have added more value to my life by including more creative and purposeful endeavours.

Here’s to changing my life degree by degree.

Caribbean Creative Writers Workshop

In February of this year I received an email indicating that I was one of ten authors chosen to participate in Cropper Foundation’s Creative Writers Workshop in June. I was alone at home when the email came in and the feelings were completely unexpected. I felt like it was not really happening, and actually imagined that no one else had submitted poetry and so I was chosen to make up a quota. I had applied on a whim submitting six poems to compete with other Caribbean writers, never really believing that what I wrote could be seen as poetry.

I had never entered a writing competition before and had only shared my poems with one friend and anonymously on my blog. In fact, I’d never referred to them as poems and called them Scribbles instead. So, receiving that email and subsequently sending my acceptance letter was a pretty surreal experience. I felt like I was someone else, like a little kid about to steal cookies from the cookie jar, with the anticipation of something delicious and thrilling, and the fear of being caught where I wasn’t supposed to be. Was this really meant for me?

The workshop, sponsored by the Cropper Foundation, and organised in partnership with the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at The University of the West Indies (UWI), took place from June 29th to July 13th in the quiet seaside town of Balandra on the north-eastern coast of Trinidad. Over sixty applicants from across the Caribbean submitted fiction, non-fiction and poetry for a chance to spend two weeks with two incredible moderators,  novelist Dr. Merle Hodge (Crick, Crack Monkey and For the Life of Laetitia), and poet and short story writer Professor Funso Aiyejina, winner of the 2000 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa) for The Legend of the Rockhills and Other Stories.

I had no idea what was in store. A friend of mine had been a participant in 2008 and when sought she offered the best advice: Expect nothing. Appreciate everything.

I never imagined that my life would be forever changed.

The Lady At The Lighthouse

The Lady at The LighthousePhoto of me taken (and titled) by Kavita Ganness, one of my Cropper Sisters, on the last day of our Creative Workshop. We were at the Toco Lighthouse, squeezing in one more adventure before it was time to head back to “reality” and our old lives.

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