Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Artist expresses Joy of Purpose

Internationally-renowned artist Peter Minshall,
left, and Carnival artist Junya Craigwell
 talk about Carnival and Art.
Artist Junya Craigwell and the Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF) launched an exhibition—The Joy of Purpose—at De Gallery, Woodford Street, Newtown, on June 15. The launch was attended by artists, officials of the CPF, Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston “Gypsy” Peters, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs Stacy Roopnarine.
Craigwell’s painting career started when he was apprenticed to a local vehicle assembly plant to learn metal finishing and painting skills. Years later, Craigwell was hired by the organisation now known as CPF to design stage backdrops for the annual International Soca Monarch finals, starting his long and continuing relationship with CPF. He also worked closely with the musical artistes competing in the CPF’s Soca Monarch competition, and his work became part of each artiste’s stage presentation. The self-taught artist’s work is familiar to most travellers using City Gate: He is the artist who painted The Last Train, an event immortalised in the calypso Last Train to San Fernando. This painting of the Trinidad Government Railway’s last trip was done in 1998, and is on display at the western entrance of the old train station, now known as City Gate.
Veteran artist and calypsonian Bill Trotman, left,
chats with children’s Carnival bandleader Rosalind Gabriel.
Within art circles, Craigwell is better known as the artist who painted portraits of some of the biggest names in the soca world. His work with the Soca Monarch artistes started a process that led to the commissioning of the Royal Collection by CPF chairman William Munro. This collection consists of Soca Monarch winners from 1993 to 2008 as they performed their winning songs on stage. The exhibition—The Joy of Purpose—comprises more than 40 pieces in oil, acrylic, chalk-and-pastel, and mixed medium. The majority of pieces are on sale either as single pieces or collections, with prints available on order. The exhibition continues until July 15.
For further information, Craigwell can be contacted at 750-5097.

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