What is Town about and how did it get its name?
“Town” is an animation that is about a female figure depicted by myself who decides to go to Bridgetown. She is surrounded by some silhouettes and in them are words, outlining personal problems, thoughts and issues we face in our daily lives. The more I look into the culture of Bridgetown and the behaviour of some Barbadians it could also be said that the words could even represent some forms of gossip. In the end of the animation, I turn into a silhouette to show that I am just like anyone else.
The animation gets it name from when we Barbadians shorten the original name of “Bridgetown”. In Barbados, when we are asking a question pertaining to Bridgetown for example “Where are you going?” to a friend or any person, they would usually answer “I am going to Town.” So I thought it was interesting to just call the animation “Town.”
How did you decide on animation as a medium?
It all started when I was at Barbados Community College. I was studying Contemporary African Art and I studied William Kentridge. I loved his charcoal and the erasing technique. So I wanted to try out animation. I had this idea of treating each frame of the animation as an art piece; each frame is hand drawn and painted. I added newspaper clippings, comic strips, transfers; anything that would make the composition more interesting. I taught myself animation and I am still learning the media
What has the response been like and where have you shown/ exhibited the work?
I have been receiving great responses from many persons such as artists, curators, critics, gallery owners and viewers. Many people told me that the work is an inspiration and it causes them to realise that each person is equal in terms of their own personal problems. I believe they are impressed with how the animation is very playful but still carries a serious message.
“Town” was first shown in the Black Diaspora Symposium Visual Arts early in the year 2009. It was organised by David A. Bailey and the National Art Gallery Committee. It was shown in public in a Pharmacy show window in Bridgetown and it was interesting to see that the animation was actually sited in Bridgetown itself making it almost seem to be part of the surroundings.
After the symposium, Christopher Cozier and Sean Leonard invited me to show “Town” in Alice Yard, Trinidad. It’s a small place that is not a traditional art space but an area where artists, performers, writers and musicians come together to show and discuss art. Most recently, Real Art Ways, in Hartford Connecticut. Now that was really exciting for me because that was my first time participating in anything in the States. I discovered that the exhibition ‘Rockstone & Bootheel” was exhibiting international Caribbean artists, so
this was a very big deal for me.
You spoke about treating the drawings that you use in the animation as independent art works. Tell us some more about that works in terms of exhibiting and selling.
I want persons to see the animations as an art piece; just the same way you look at a painting but in this instance it is moving. In terms of selling the animation that’s a Yes. I would create it as DVDs and I am planning to sell the frame or stills of the animation. Again as I mentioned before each frame is hand drawn and, therefore, they are drawings.
You are now recruiting participants for your new work via Facebook; What will this new work be about and how will you be using these persons?
I used myself in “Town” but I am working on some animations with the same concept so I need more people. I am talking about persons’ problems so therefore I would need other people going through Bridgetown such as young, old, male, female, etc. However, these other animations wouldn’t be exactly like the original. I know these others would be very difficult but I am looking forward to the challenge.
Who are your favourite contemporary artists and how do you want to develop your work?
My favourite contemporary artists are William Kentridge, Robert Rauschenberg, Kara Walker, Christopher Cozier and Ewan Atkinson.
I really like William Kentridge’s work because, to be honest, I wasn’t interested in animations but it’s the way how he treats his animation. The charcoal drawings are fantastic.
I am working on a solo show exhibiting it in Barbados Community College’s gallery for 2010. I am planning to submit the animations in more exhibitions, residencies and film festivals. I am really happy how the process is going so far in term of ideas for the animations and of course the responses from persons. This motivate me to work harder, and exhibiting more of “Town”