The National Archives at Vigie was ablaze with colour on Wednesday 24th January for the opening of “Women in Art” Exhibition, the contribution of the National Archives to the Nobel Laureate Festival.
In her remarks, Mrs. Margot Thomas, National Archivist, said, “This exhibition is an effort to put our female artists in the limelight. To focus on their abilities, creativity and talents. As we celebrate the excellence of these ladies we are also consolidating our legacy in recording their achievements for posterity and the National Archives is justly proud of taking the lead in making this happen.”
Tributes were paid to the women by Mr. Benjamin Emmanuel, Cabinet Secretary; Cedric George, well-known artist; Hilary La Force of the Folk Research Centre; and Ken Lawrence of the Artists Circle.
On behalf of the fifteen artists, Ms. Nicole Edgecombe thanked the men for their tributes and expressed the hope that despite obstacles, women will continue to paint, since by so doing they will find their voice.
The keynote speaker, Ms. Lizca Bass, of the Millennial generation; art teacher, designer and photographer from St. Kitts did not disappoint. She gave a brief synopsis of the evolution of art by women through the years and how scant regard has been paid to the contribution of women in that area. “Women have been and continue to be integral to the institution of art, but despite being engaged with the art world in every way, many women artists have found opposition in the traditional narrative of art history. They have faced challenges due to gender biases, from finding difficulty in training, to selling their work and gaining recognition. From ancient times onwards, only a small sample of women found their way into the tales of the greatest artists. Even then, they were often described as unusually talented women who overcame the limitations of their gender in order to excel in what was believed to be a masculine field,” she said.
She pinpointed the case of Frida Kahlo, the wife of the famous Mexican artist Diego Riviera. Although Frida was a brilliant portrait artist, she lived in her husband’s shadow and was always referred to as Frida Kahlo, the wife of Diego Riviera. She urged the students in the audience to explore their full potential and in the process discover their art, sexuality and spirituality. She closed with the words, “Well- behaved women seldom make history.”
Dame Pearlette Louisy the Chairperson of the Nobel Laureate Festival declared National Archives month, which coincides with the Nobel Laureate festival open. The theme for the month, customized from the festival’s theme is Celebrating Excellence: Consolidating the legacy using record and archives. She congratulated the National Archives for its consistency in presenting an interesting and informative activity each year in observance of the Nobel Laureates. Before cutting the ribbon to open the exhibition, she shared with the audience; “A few short months ago, Margot took up art and she has been urging me to do so. I believe I will take her up on that.”
Patsy Cadet, whom Jerry George referred to as the first lady of song, accompanied by musician Dien Thomas on keyboard, thrilled the crowd with her rendition of Wind Beneath My Wings.
Mr. Jerry George, Master of Ceremonies, urged the crowd to donate their photographs and other memorabilia to the National Archives. Mr. Albert Fevriere, Linda “Chocolate” Berthier and Ms. Patsy Cadet made donations of their works to the National Archives during the ceremony.
The works of Alcina Nolley, Jean Mederick, Solange Lawrence, Nicole Edgecombe, Alexandra Grant, Elizabeth Anthony-Tench, Sabrina Romulus, Jeannine Giraudy MacIntyre, Aisha Quama Thomas-St. Cyr, Nancy Cole, Shay Cozier, Sharon Moise, Christine Samuel, Lyn Bristol, Shirley-Ann Edwards and Margot Thomas will be on display until February 23rd when the exhibition will come to an end.