Michiel van Hout created the Holy Week Art Exhibition to help him find a space in the local art scene for his work. Michiel is a religious artist, and for him his work is a reflection of his faith. It is also part of his spiritual practice.
The Holy Week Art Exhibition was created because when he moved Trinidad, he found that religious art didn’t really have a space here, which he found very surprising considering how spiritual this country is.
The 2017 exhibition ended on Glorious Saturday, but I did a story on it for the C News Report, have a look
I really his geometric, stained glass-like paintings the best. Antonio Figuero’s paintings of the Cathedral and the Church of the Assumption were lovely as well, as was Rebecca Foster’s “Stations of the Cross”. I hope that some of these find spaces in local churches and homes very soon.
His 2017 presentation, Cazabon: The Art of Living was supposed to celebrate our heritage architecture and the period when those buildings, like the members of the Magnificent 7 were built.
The problems were present from the get go. Those buildings were constructed in the 20th century. While George Brown, the architect who designed the fret work that has become the hallmark of the gingerbread houses moved to Trinidad before Cazabon died, they had little interaction. So the association is messy.
But what really upset some people was the section La Belle Dame and Garçon de la Maison. The beautiful woman and the house boy. It glamourised a relationship where one of the partners, in this case the overly sexualised houseboy, wasn’t an equal partner, and probably couldn’t refuse the relationship if he wasn’t interested. Regardless of how beautiful his mistress may have been.
Earlier this week, the band leader held a Facebook live discussion where he apologised for causing offense and dropped the section.
I had an interesting conversation with a lecturer in Carnival Studies about this controversy, Trinidad Carnival’s history and society. I also spoke to the leading expert on Cazabon about this. I’m working on that piece now, and hope to have it ready for broadcast soon.
WOMEX drew to a close for its 22nd edition with the Award ceremony Sunday, 23 October. Delegates gathered in Santiago de Compostela’s Auditorio Abanca to celebrate the careers and achievements in artistry and professionalism by three key world music players.
Calypso legend Calypso Rose (Trinidad & Tobago) was presented with the WOMEX 16 Artist Award; Colombian hip-hop school 4Elementos Skuela received the Professional Excellence Award (represented at WOMEX by founder Henry Arteaga); and the Label Award went to Glitterbeat Records for the third year running.
Henry Arteaga delivered his acceptance speech in part via a capella rap, and also stated the importance and symbolism of the WOMEX Award: “Our neighbourhood and our school are more alive and happier than ever and it is them who really deserve the applause. I am ashamed that in my country thousands of people think more can be achieved through war instead of through peace. Music on the other hand, born from the soul, is made to connect one another. The WOMEX Award ancient goddess figurine represents a mother – and we may have forgotten it, but this signifies something very special – love. This Award thus for me is a symbol of what we need now for rescuing my country and its future.”
Receiving her award, Calypso Rose told the WOMEX delegates “I would especially like to thank WOMEX, the World Music Expo…but now I want to keep you on your feet by dancing!”
The ceremony itself then ended with a bang: a special performance saw Calypso Rose joined on stage by the all-star ‘Calypso Sound System’ featuring Drew Gonsalves and other members of Kobo Town, and left the audience dancing in the aisles.