Kerby Young: The Art Gallery

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A report by Julien Neaves for Trinidad’s Newsday.

THE DEPTH of visual art. The beauty of fashion. The melody of song. These three arts, and the talents of young and up and coming artists, will be combined into one event on Saturday for The Art Gallery: Where Art Comes Alive.

Newsday spoke with event organiser and fashion designer Kerby Young last week about the fusion event and his career from his business place in Curepe.

The 31-year-old Guyanese began in the fashion industry in Guyana in 2005 and his first show was called “Colours of the Caribbean”.

He described his aesthetic as “colourful, Caribbean, easy-breezy type of garments”.

He migrated to Trinidad in 2008 and started developing his skills in makeup, photography and jewelry making. His designs were featured in a number of shows including San Fernando Fashion Week. His last showing was for the Independence Fashion Show in Guayaguayare.

On the show Young explained he has been involved in the performing and creative arts and, “I wanted to fuse together everything and make it into like one package.

That if you are an artist or you’re involved in the arts something when you come to the show must captivate you.” He chose the name The Art Gallery because at an art gallery you form your own perceptions of the pieces that you would see and this is the “vibes” he wants people to get at the show.

The show features three visual artists: Princess Charles, better known as Avianne, Shakellah Mungo and Omar Jarra. On his choice of the artists, Young explained that when he was he was younger he never had anyone to mentor him or give him opportunities. He reported that other artists wanted to be a part of the show but he feels but they were already established and the event would do more for the three of them.

“Introduce Trinidad and Tobago to the up and coming (artists),” he added.

Charles, 21, from Petit Valley, wanted to do art since she was age five. She attended Corpus Christi College and was introduced to art in form two. When the art teacher left in form three she had to “look elsewhere” and discovered the St Joseph School of Art and studied at the Cambridge level.

She entered a couple of art competitions and was introduced to the Art Society and held a show with them last month entitled Observations.

Charles recently found out that she has depression “which kind of motivated me to paint about mental health and what can possibly affect that”. Her topics include racism, sexism and misogyny.

“It sort of sends a message because that is what I want people to get. I want people to see things they remain oblivious to most of the time. So that is what I am basing my work on for this show,” she said.

On her style Charles said that it varies and it is not necessarily abstract or realism but a mixture. She works in acrylic but prefers watercolours. For The Art Gallery she will be presenting six pieces, all acrylic, and pieces that previously featured in her Observation show.

On being part of the art fusion, Charles said: “It will be very eye-opening to see the talent because a lot of the times they don’t expose much talent especially between young artists in Trinidad. You kind of have to fight to get stuff in the spotlight.

Fellow artist Mungo, 15, of Diego Martin, said she has always loved the arts and it is one of her talents; her others are dance and modelling. From the time she started to write she was drawing. She attends Diego Martin Central Secondary, where she is in form four, and has been studying art.

On her artistic style, Mungo said she is still trying to figure it out.

She tries different things and used “mixed media”: pens, glitter and “anything I could find to fit into the painting I would put it. She works in both water colour and acrylic and the theme of her pieces is “The New Beginning”.

“I like to do things that people see different things from it. If I draw something I don’t want it to have one meaning to it,” she explained.

Mungo has shown her art in school and in 2015 placed fourth in a competition for a Blue Water calendar and had her work featured in it.

Jarra, 18, is from the West African country of Gambia but migrated to Trinidad at age seven with his doctor father.

He explained that he has always been artistic and started to take it seriously while attending ASJA Boys College in Charlieville where he was encouraged by art teacher Eden Bissoon.

He started with acrylic and did a lot of abstract and surrealism and also likes realism.

He really enjoys faces and “loves” eyes.

“I feel like eyes are so magical and so beautiful to look at,” he said.

His six pieces will fall under the theme Joined Perception which is about having a feeling and connecting to a certain thing. This will be Jarra’s first time showing his work and he is “very excited”. On the arts fusion he said that he feels very privileged to be a part of it.

“The arts is basically who I am,” he explained.

Young said The Art Gallery will feature more than 40 models in a “long version” of the mannequin challenge holding the pieces and being an extension of them. The event will climax with the runway show featuring jazz and soul singer Nataki Lendor.

Venue is the Open Oasis, Simone Avenue, Arima at 7 pm. It is a cocktail event and attendees can dress in black or white. For more info 323-4805.

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