An Ode to Trinidad and Tobago

May 7, 2018                                                                 

Community Service and Photography; one would initially perceive these as two unrelated disciplines, but in one afternoon, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts (MCDCA) experienced how both of these disciplines celebrated the beautiful diversity of Trinidad and Tobago in a very special way.

On Thursday 3rd May, over one hundred men and women from different walks of life assemble in two adjoining venues; the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) and the National Museum and Art Gallery, for two different purposes. The first event at NAPA saw Dr. the Hon. Nyan Gadsby Dolly, Minister of Community , Culture and the Arts present Letters of Appointment to Board Members of the Upper Malabar and Malabar Phase IV Community Centres, the Maloney Regional Complex, and the Mayaro and Sangre Grande Civic Centres respectively. In delivering the instruments, Minister Gadsby-Dolly expressed that these Community Centre Boards will ensure that the Ministry’s investments will be soundly managed and bear fruits in each community. She also expressed gratitude to the appointees for embracing their role as public servants. Both the young and young at heart were well represented among the appointees, and were evidently eager to get down to business.

A few hours after and just a stone’s throw away we saw this patriotic expression in a different medium; photography. The National Museum and Art Gallery launched it’s ‘Through My Lens- To Trinidad and Tobago, from Me” Exhibition featuring over fifty photographs depicting those sites and moments that are part of our collective memory. The call for submissions took place during the month of March to find our varied perspectives on life in Trinidad and Tobago, and collated these perspectives through the medium of photography.

Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly delivered the Feature Address at the Launch and reminded attendees that “It is the Museum’s responsibility, and by extension the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts’ responsibility, to unearth pathways for our art forms and artistes to be recognized and celebrated, and this evening our country’s premier art institution is saying to our talented, amateur photographers, “this is your space, this is your time. Let your skill tell your story.”

Curator of the Museum, Ms. Lorraine Johnson, also expressed that these photographs “challenge the viewer to take a second look at our country, bringing to the fore some of our most visually stunning physical vistas whilst capturing social issues.” She thanked all participants, who represented a range of career disciplines and age categories, and advocated for photography entrepreneurship. The exhibition will be open to the public until June 16th at the Museum.

These two events redeemed that there will always be an outlet to express one’s passion and dedication to Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of one’s calling in life.