Locals and visitors marvel at CXC art exhibition piecesWritten by Precious Mills
BASSETERRE, ST.KITTS: Many locals and visitors alike were full praise at last Friday’s concluded CXC Visual Arts Exhibition at Port Zante (March 12-16) which saw a variety of pieces from around the Caribbean region, including St. Kitts /Nevis.
Art work on display included some which have won regional awards, attained a grade one CXC pass and other outstanding CXC pieces.
Paintings, drawings and 3D artwork were among the art pieces exhibited.
News Link visited the exhibition on its final day to get feedback from the public. This reporter spoke with a few individuals including tourists and art teachers.
One art teacher from the Basseterre High School, Denise Daniel, holds a Bachelors in Art Degree and has been an art teacher for the past 11 years of the 1st to 5th forms. Daniel first taught at the Washington Archibald High.
PRECIOUS: As an art teacher what do you encourage your students to aspire to through art?
DANIEL: I try to teach them that it is a good way to express themselves in a positive manner and we try to nurture their creativity.
When they first start, students tend to think that art is about drawing and they complain that ‘teacher I can’t draw’. They then understand that they don’t start drawing. It’s more an expressive form and you can do that in a variety of ways. For example you do collaging if you’re not strong on the drawing, painting and there is a lot of 3 dimensioning work that the students can get involved in.
PRECIOUS: How has the response been?
DANIEL: I think most people came with a limited expectation but when they come here and see the level of work that the students have done, they are amazed and I think this is going to expose the Kittitian public to the creative level that a lot of our students are at.
PRECIOUS: As an art teacher what is your impression of the art pieces?
DANIEL: Excellent! Even the tourists come in and they can’t believe 15, 16, and17 year olds produce work like this. Most people said ‘amazing’ ‘excellent’.
News Link also spoke with one art teacher from Verchilds High School, Micheleina Charles –Hazel, who has been an art teacher for the past year.
PRECIOUS: What has the response been like?
Charles-Hazel: The response has been phenomenal ...Quite recently we had the pre schoolers from McKnight coming to see the exhibition. I must admit that when I saw them first I was like oh my, lots of sticky fingers, touchy and they’re only two years old going on to three and (I wondered) if they were going to appreciate it. They completely bold me over. They were singing nursery rhymes based on what the students themselves did today...There was this particular leather craft that had ‘Hey diddle diddle’ and the children were able to hear the nursery rhyme. There were spiders and they were singing ‘Incy wincy spider’. It was just a learning and interactive environment and they learnt so much. They saw dancing the masquerade. There was a particular painting with the masquerade and they were excited to tell me what they knew about the masquerade that they went into performance art and were dancing the masquerade. It has just been lovely. The tourists are appreciating the visual culture of the Caribbean as well.
This reporter also chit-chatted with Assistant Registrar at CXC, Cleveland Sam (out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
PRECIOUS: What has the response been like from the public?
SAM: The response has been overwhelming I must say and we are happy for that because we wanted to make sure that as many people in St. Kitts and Nevis were exposed to the exhibition and in fact I can say in terms of the turnout from the schools it has been really phenomenal . Every day we had schools ... particularly in the morning session and so much in some cases we had to ask some of them to stay outside a couple minutes so that we can do the tour because when we’re dealing with the students we don’t just allow the students to walk through the exhibition, we actually divided them up in groups and we had art teachers take them through the exhibition so that they can understand what they are seeing.
Sam stated that because of the “prestigious location” on Port Zante where there was at least one cruise ship everyday “we also benefitted from a significant number of cruise ship passengers coming through the exhibition and they were just amazed that this is done by students in high schools.”
PRECIOUS: Did any one ask about purchasing the artwork?
SAM: One lady from the Customs Department asked us to purchase a particular piece and that piece is actually from a student at the Cayon High School in St. Kitts and I asked her the question, “How much would you pay for it?” She said, “Any mount you ask.” So that is quite flattering. But yes we’ve had quite a few enquiries from visitors both local and from the cruise ship passengers who wanted to know if they can buy pieces. I remember the first day a lady came in and she saw one of the leather belts and she is like, “Can I buy it?” or “Where can I get one like this to buy?” So that was encouraging. What CXC is planning to do sometime down the road, hopefully in the not too distant future is to set up a website where we can sell the pieces so that the students can benefit from that. The student will get the majority of the funds. CXC will only keep a commission for the transaction....
Caroline Joseph (non-national residing here)
I like it. The other thing I though they should have had the names of the individuals and the what island they represent and even their grade at CXC level because that could at last give us an idea of what islands are producing . I did art in school, which was at the old GSE level, and so that’s why I was interested to see what CXC was producing.
Jan and Ken Black (cruise ship passengers from Florida, U.S)
Jane: For high school students there are very impressive. They have done very well.
Ken: I too am very impressed; very interesting and creative what we see here
Jane: That’s a variety stuff of different work.
The exhibition was opened to the public between 9 am and 5 pm daily and is the 9th annual one held throughout the region and also in Belize where CXC Visual Arts is taken, New Link gathered. On Friday, the closing time was extended to 7pm so that persons who finished work at 5pm and others who may not have seen the exhibition would have been given a chance to.