Dear readers:
For our sixth anniversary in May 2010, The Caribbean Review of Books has launched a new website at www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com. Antilles has now moved to www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/antilles — please update your bookmarks and RSS feed. If you link to Antilles from your own blog or website, please update that too!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Opening tomorrow: the Alice Yard Space

sean leonard alice yard sketch

Perhaps the image above doesn't look like much--a quadrilateral scribbled on a scrap of paper--but it represents an exciting new development in the Trinidad contemporary art scene. This is one of architect Sean Leonard's conceptual sketches for the small gallery space that opens tomorrow, 14 September, in Alice Yard, the backyard of the old house at 80 Roberts Street in Woodbrook, Port of Spain.

Leonard's great-grandmother used to live in this house, and its backyard is a place where generations of children talked, played, imagined. In September 2006, it became a public space: Alice Yard. The band 12, fronted by Sheldon Holder, set up their headquarters in a small outbuilding. The arts programme Galvanize held two events there. And over the last year Holder has hosted a series of Friday-night "Conversations in the Yard", where musicians come to perform, writers read, artists discuss their work, and audiences engage in conversation with creative practitioners.

Tomorrow night the dynamic will change a little, with the opening of Alice Yard Space. The sketch above will take three-dimensional form as a simple glass-and-concrete box at the eastern end of the yard, next to the 12 bandroom. The space is nine by seven by ten feet: just big enough to fit an artist's installation or video work, or a few drawings or paintings. But modest enough that an artist can feel comfortable showing a fragment of something bigger, or a piece of work in progress. Not a space for grand declarations, necessarily, but to show something that will trigger a reaction, a conversation.

From tomorrow night until the end of the year, five artists' projects will appear in the Alice Yard Space, each for a few weeks at a time. The first is Rack, an installation by Adam Williams. Tomorrow night, entirely by coincidence, also happens to be the anniversary of the opening of Galvanize, the six-week "happening" that made waves in the Trinidad art scene and roused strong feelings both positive and negative. There's no immediate link between Galvanize and the Alice Yard Space (though some of the artists involved in the former will inevitably show their work in the latter), but there's a continuity of intent: to ask questions, to use modest available spaces and resources, to generate a real conversation about the role and relevance of contemporary art in the Caribbean. I'm pleased to say I helped make Galvanize happen and am now involved in the Alice Yard Space also.

Tomorrow night's event is open to all. Alice Yard Space officially opens at 7 pm, and the regular Friday-night "Conversation" starts at 9 pm. More information at the website.

No comments: