Art Thrives Us—A Journey of Art Through Arthritis
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.