art of town
when it had a squatters mall in town name the Drag?
It was on Independence Square which part it have Brian Lara
Promenade now. The Drag Brothers Mall, it did name, a set
of board shack selling sandal, incense and, town say, weed.
But maybe that was just the racist and them fighting down
the black man as usualbecause, of course, the majority
of the fellas selling inside the Drag was black man and Rastas,
Or maybe it was smell they used to smell it, why people say
it had weed in there.
Me ent know; I was too small to recognise the smell if it
was in there. My mother never carry me inside of there and
by the time I was old enough to go for myself it was gone,
board shack, sandal and weed, too, if they ever had it there.
On the rest of Independence Square it had car park and vagrants,
and must be one or two tree that the exhaust fumes didnt
kill. It must be was embarrassing for we to see all that in
the heart of the city, boy. This ramshackle place with a name
like Independence Square. Independent to be what? To do what?
That is the face we go show the world?
So we rip up all that and put down something nice, the Promenade.
I remember when they first come with the red and white bricks
to put on the ground.
I never see fancy bricks so, in patterns, too, just for we
to walk on. It was like a present to weself, with the smooth,
white marble bowl on one block, the green, green grass all
down the promenade, the flag poles and lights in the ground
in front of the Central Bank.
True Trinis, we didnt stick. We start to lime one time.
It had chess games, modelling, singing, drinking, hustling,
man just sitting down to watch woman, woman eating ice cream
what she little son leave back because he busy running down
It was a good spot for we. If I ever meet Colin Laird, the
architect who design it, I go shake he hand. (I would of say
I go dance at he wedding, but I ent figure he going and have
a next one at he age.)
But, nice as it is, it have one thing it missing.
Going through San Juan, Puerto Rico, give me a little reminder
Imagine, all over San Juan it have park and in most, if not
every one, it have art. In one, down by the beach, it have
this giant sculpture of a little girl in the rough, impressionistic
style that plenty Puerto Rican artist does use.
In a next one, next to a church name Stella Maris (Spanish
for Star of the Sea) it have about 36 big concrete
seashells lay out in the middle of the park.
My favourite was a playground in Condado because it had concrete
sculptures that wasnt just to look at, but they was
shape like cushions and pillows and the children could use
them to sit down or jump on and thing.
Because, you see, art is not just a thing to watch, a pretty
picture on a wall in a gallery or a museum.
Of course is to watch, yes, but is not only that.
Art, whether it pretty or not, is something that does affect
we just as how we does affect it. Imagine life without Carnival
or Ramleela or the spinning magic that is a Hosay moon. How
it go be to never see a tadjah?
We art does be on the road and in the savannah, but it ent
have no real reason we cant move them temporary thing
into a more permanent arrangement.
What if we hire a Minshall to make a Man Crab and pose it
up in the concourse in front the Central Bank? Or get Ravi-Ji
Kendra to sculpt a tableau from Ramleela and put it by the
Hall of Justice?
What if we get youngblood painters like Shalini or Nicholai
Noel to do some public murals?
I could see the swirling colours from Shalini all now in my
head, or some big fellas with wings from Nicholai Icarus series
liming in town watching people going inside KFC.
I saying we streets and pavements and public spaces could
be better, more interesting places if we make a little effort
to develop the things we done have already.
I know we dont have a big history of public artI
ent forget the Sparrow bacchanal in St Anns Roundabout,
or how we tear down the Chang mural from in the old airport
without a carebut three of my favourite things in town
is art. That is the piece on the Textel Building on Independence
Square, the Conquerabia mural on City Hall, and the Ralph
and Vera Baney mosaics on Scotiabank wall on Pembroke Street.
That prove to me that, yes, we have it in we. Is only to bring
it out now. Then we could show the world we face for true
and feel proud to do it.