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Canvas conversations

Published: 
Friday, September 21, 2018
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"Just Do It”, acrylic on canvas by Michelle Tappin-Davis. Photo by:Courtesy Michelle Tappin-Davis

BOBIE-LEE DIXON

(bobie-lee.dixon@guardian.co.tt)

“Art speaks where words are unable to explain.”—Threadless Artist Mathiole.

That's exactly the point of the Voices Art Exhibition that was hosted by the Women in Art Organisation, T&T (WIAOTT), which began on September 12 and concluded on September 22.

The exhibition celebrated WIAOTT's 23rd annual members' airing and featured esteemed women artists like Adele Todd, Michelle Isava, Reita Antoine, former Guardian Media Ltd employee, Halcian Pierre and Greer Jones.

In an interview with WIAOTT's president and art teacher at Hillview College, Michelle Tappin-Davis, she described this year's exhibition as a 'collector's dream.'

There were some popular themes this year with beautiful storylines ranging from history to social issues and human interest: 56 Years by Delia Brathwaite, which spoke of the one-cent coin that's no longer in circulation; Children's Lives Matter, by La Toya Tidd, a piece about the rights of children; while Anna Charles-Smith chose to tell her story themed, To Bravely Go—a mother's tribute to her son, a Star Wars fanatic, who lost his life to cancer.

Tappin-Davis explained the concept behind the exhibition's ongoing theme “Voices” was to create a voice for the artists to share their point of views on topics of interest.

As per the vision of WIAOTT's founder, Fraulein Rudder, Tappin-Davis said the creative space was conceived to ensure that women have a voice and they deserve the right to speak about what affects their lives and their careers.

“If we can't speak our message, we can communicate through our collective voice, yet still retain our individuality.”

WIAOTT also provide members with financial support during exhibitions, which Tappin-Davis described as a costly exercise for an individual.

“Framing 30 pieces can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000. We try to lift this burden by sharing in the cost,” Tappin-Davis said.

“We also encourage women to make the time to create art because women generally put families first with little time for themselves. This is why male artists tend to be more productive.”

WIAOTT extends its arms and gives back

The organisation has also embarked on offering En Plein air master classes to secondary school art students. In May it made an intervention at the Debe High School as assistance was needed with the school's visual arts programme. It then conducted a T-shirt design competition and exhibition at the school, as part of its outreach programme to schools in the Southland.

In an effort to give back, WIAOTT recently hosted a free glass blowing art workshop at Alice Yard on Roberts Street, Port-of-Spain. In November it will visit the sister isle for Expo Art Tobago, which is carded to run from November 29 to December 2.

Under her stewardship, Rudder also instituted the WIAOTT Biennial Art Competition and Exhibition, in order to help Fifth and Sixth Form boys and girls to emerge.

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