Art Thrives Us—A Jour­ney of Art Through Arthri­tis

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Last Thurs­day the MeCu­ra­tor Art Gallery at Mas­sade, Gros Islet, opened the first ever Art Thrives Us ex­hi­bi­tion — “A jour­ney of art through Arthri­tis”. The event was made pos­si­ble via the joint ef­forts of the Saint Lu­cia Arthri­tis and Lu­pus As­so­ci­a­tion (SLALA) and art cu­ra­tor Buki Ca­hane. The goal was to fea­ture the work of pa­tients, health prac­ti­tion­ers, friends and fam­ily mem­bers who have suf­fered ail­ments such as arthri­tis and lu­pus. Many of the pieces on dis­play were painted dur­ing the “Soul Art” work­shops, an ini­tia­tive de­vel­oped to en­cour­age heal­ing through art.

The bi-monthly Soul Art work­shops are the brain­child of Dr Nicole Edge­combe, who told the “I started paint­ing around 2012 and I con­sider my­self an in­tu­itive painter. I am a psy­chol­o­gist but I also have lu­pus and I find that paint­ing helps me to be calmer, more fo­cused and able to man­age pain. One time I thought to my­self, ‘This can’t just be me; other peo­ple, I’m sure, will have a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence.’ So in Jan­uary of this year I met with SLALA and we got a group of peo­ple who have never painted be­fore to be­gin paint­ing in­tu­itively.” Edge­combe says the ini­tia­tive has been go­ing strong and will con­tinue un­til “there’s no more paint on the is­land”.

Nine of the Soul Art painters put their art on dis­play as part of the Art Thrives Us ex­hi­bi­tion, along with Pe­ter Wal­cott who suf­fers with arthri­tis. For­tu­nila Hip­polyte, the youngest artist at age 20, said she had joined the work­shop after be­ing en­cour­aged by her doc­tor. “The classes with Nicole was a good op­por­tu­nity. My in­spi­ra­tion is usu­ally things that I like, things that I don’t like, some­times even things that an­noy me and I en­joy it,” she said. Though For­tu­nila had be­gun paint­ing on her own, her work has blos­somed into some­thing awe-in­spir­ing, say mem­bers of the Soul Art group. Her use of ev­ery­day ma­te­ri­als and items, some of which she picks up dur­ing strolls, adds a unique touch.

Dar­rel John, one of the few male painters in­cluded in the Art Thrives Us ex­hi­bi­tion, talked about one of his stand­out pieces. “Well, in the ninth month, which we know is Septem­ber, this is the month that arthri­tis, sickle cell anaemia and other such ill­nesses are given aware­ness. Since my cousin has sickle cell anaemia, and I have been ob­serv­ing all the painful sit­u­a­tions she has gone through, she in­spired me. The Ninth Month was done as a tribute to her.” John cur­rently works as a part-time nurse and says pa­tients and oth­ers en­dur­ing phys­i­cal, emo­tional and men­tal ail­ments “can use art cog­ni­tively to dis­tract them from painful episodes”.

The Art Thrives Us ex­hi­bi­tion ends on Thurs­day De­cem­ber 13. It fea­tures not only paint­ings, but also sculp­tures, books and hand­crafted jewellery by artists who have sought to cre­ate de­spite what, to oth­ers, may seem like set­backs. The gallery’s open­ing hours are from 9am to 3pm, Mon­day to Fri­day and by pri­vate ap­point­ment. All pieces on dis­play are for sale.

--- Keryn Nel­son

Ar­gentina’s Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, with the sup­port of the In­ter-Amer­i­can In­sti­tute for Co­op­er­a­tion Agri­cul­ture (IICA), held a work­shop in Buenos Aires to en­able Caribbean of­fi­cials and tech­ni­cal spe­cial­ists in wa­ter man­age­ment and agri­cul­tural health to ben­e­fit from the sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal ex­per­tise of Ar­gen­tinian or­gan­i­sa­tions that are op­er­at­ing in this area.

The aim of the four­day ‘Re­gional Work­shop on Agri­cul­ture in the English­s­peak­ing Caribbean’ was to in­form spe­cial­ists from Bar­ba­dos, Do­minica, Grenada, Ja­maica, Saint Lu­cia and Saint Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines about sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties at the Na­tional Agri­cul­tural Tech­nol­ogy In­sti­tute (INTA) and the poli­cies and ac­tions of the Agroin­dus­trial Sec­re­tariat and the Na­tional Ser­vice for Agri-food Health and Qual­ity (SENASA).

Dur­ing the ses­sions, it was agreed that a co­op­er­a­tion project should be de­vel­oped on wa­ter and soils and agri­cul­tural health and safety, all of which were iden­ti­fied as pri­or­i­ties dur­ing the first phase of the work­shop, which was held in Bar­ba­dos in April.

The work­shop is part of the Ar­gen­tine Fund for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion (FO.AR) pro­gram of Ar­gentina’s Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, un­der the frame­work of South-South co­op­er­a­tion, with a view to pro­mot­ing knowl­edge, tech­nol­ogy and best prac­tices in wa­ter har­vest­ing, reser­voir man­age­ment, pump­ing and man­age­ment of wa­ter re­sources, pests and ex­otic dis­eases and phy­tosan­i­tary cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­to­cols.

IICA pro­vided co­op­er­a­tion in the de­vel­op­ment of the projects and, given its pres­ence in all the coun­tries of the Caribbean, agreed to col­lab­o­rate and pro­vide as­sis­tance in both the fi­nal for­mu­la­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion stages.

Karen Mon­tiel, the Co­or­di­na­tor of IICA’s Cli­mate Change, Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Risk Pro­gram; Lisa Har­ry­nanan, the Agri­cul­tural Health Spe­cial­ist at IICA’s Trinidad and Tobago Of­fice; and Edith Ob­schatko, Pol­icy Spe­cial­ist at IICA Ar­gentina, at­tended the Buenos Aires work­shop.

Also in at­ten­dance were rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Caribbean Agri­cul­tural Re­search and De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute (CARDI), which is an or­gan­i­sa­tion of the Caribbean Com­mu­nity (CARICOM) that spe­cial­izes in agri­cul­tural is­sues, and the Span­ish Agency for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Co­op­er­a­tion (AECID).

The vis­i­tors ex­pressed their great ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the Ar­gen­tinian or­gan­i­sa­tions for shar­ing their ex­pe­ri­ences and to the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs and IICA for the sup­port pro­vided in de­vel­op­ing this ac­tiv­ity.

They also re­marked that the work­shop, which was or­gan­ised in the spirit of South-South Co­op­er­a­tion, was ex­tremely timely in pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion and help­ing to en­hance knowl­edge about phy­tosan­i­tary sys­tems, wa­ter har­vest­ing and soil man­age­ment.

Art Thrives Us be­comes an­other suc­cess­ful ex­hi­bi­tion open­ing at the MeCu­ra­tor Art Gallery.

Ar­gen­tinian au­thor­i­ties host a wel­com­ing cer­e­mony for vis­i­tors at the Pala­cio San Martín.

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