“A city is only as great as its Public Art”…

On Wednesday 27th May 2015 at 5:30pm.there was a formal launch and naming of the mural ‘The Return of the Canboulay’ in the Guardian car park on the corner of Queen’s and St. Vincent Streets Port-of-Spain.

The mural- which was commissioned by Mr Gregory Aboud- was a collaborative effort of Mr Rubadiri Victor and Mr Keegan Simon- with the assistance of young artists Francois and Jean Michel Le Blanc and Matthew Blackman. The piece depicts 2 Fancy Indian masqueraders from this year’s winning Small Band- Tribal Connection Cultural Promotions ‘From the Hills of Dakota’. Leader of the band Ms Chery Clarke-Alleyne was on hand for the launch.

Done over the course of just three days the mural is an attempt to brighten up the city and leave a register that Port of Spain is indeed ‘the Kingdom of Carnival’. The mural depicts a King Fancy Indian character with arms outstretched in cruciform position- as if in embrace, welcome, offering, celebration, self-declaration, and/or obstruction… The interpretations are many… The artists hope that this small gesture of beauty multiplies 1000 times in the next year. The piece is part of the Artists’ Coalition of Trinidad & Tobago’s ‘1000 Moments of Beauty’ campaign.

In his speech artist Rubadiri Victor lamented the fact that despite all the Genius that this country has produced there is hardly any evidence or worthy touchstones to this Genius in our public spaces. “This Mural is our humble gesture in that direction, “ he said. Businessman and head of the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) Gregory Aboud said that, “It is said that, ‘You save one life, you save a Nation.’ So I hope that with this humble gesture we can cause a greater salvation.’

This mural is hopefully the first of a trilogy of ‘Return of the Canboulay’ murals and a lot more public art in the capital city and nationally. It is meant to stir the conversation that has lapsed about the destiny of the capital city Port of Spain, and therefore visions of how it should be planned. The Poet Laureate of the City of Port of Spain Mr Anson Gonzalez, who is not in the country, sent a poem to match the moment, the art, the ambition, and the sentiments.

(in fish-eye lens picture: female artist, Ms Cheryl Clarke-Alleyne, Keegan Simon, Rubadiri Victor, Gregory Aboud, Matthew Blackman, and Jean Michel Le Blanc)

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