TRINIDAD and Tobago’s rich culture makes it the perfect breeding ground for artistic talent. But while the country’s international claim to fame is usually Carnival, local artists like Fitzroy Hoyte continue to bring attention to the country in other arenas. Hoyte, visual artist and founder of ThinkArtworkTT Studio, is determined to represent TT on an international stage through art. The studio held its debut exhibition, aptly entitled Represent, at Carlos Street, Woodbrook, and featured the works of both seasoned and upcoming artists. The exhibit ends today.

Sabrina Acham’s Behind the Headline.

Hoyte has been a visual artist for over 20 years, with a clear preference for mixed media. He said he loves to experiment with varying textures and often finds inspiration in natural resources such as sand, stones, shells and whatever he can lay his hands on. His pieces were among the show-stoppers in the exhibition. He said he has always had the vision of owning a space where artistes can be represented and where new artists have the opportunity to present their work alongside veterans -an opportunity not usually afforded to them, and to move away from the selective process practised in most galleries. He created the ThinkArtworkTT workspace to achieve just that. In the studio’s first-ever exhibit, the work of renowned local artists such as LeRoy Clarke and Martin Superville, along with new talent, such as his own daughter Safiya Hoyte, are on display. The work of 35 artists, 80 pieces overall, showcased a wide variety of mediums, including photography, paintings, mixed media and sculptures.

Troy Garcia’s ‘Tuesday on the Rocks’.

Hoyte promised this was just the first instalment, and has plans to continue the series. “The idea is to take Represent international,” he said, adding that it is difficult for artists to attain the attention and recognition they deserve. “There is no space to be seen,” as galleries often dictate what kind of work they display. Hoyte described a recent trip to South Africa where he presented his first solo exhibition at the University of Pretoria, and said that experience inspired him also to use his space as a place for cultural exchange, where, for example artists from South Africa can come to Trinidad to exhibit, and in exchange, artists from TT can go to South Africa.

Hoyte has also been a mentor for many years. Work by his most recent mentee, young artist Troy Garcia, was among the many pieces on display. Garcia, a Fatima College alumnus, worked with Hoyte since he was did art at CSEC level and obtained a distinction. Hoyte describes his mentoring style as more of gentle guidance.

Lisa Hutchinson’s La Orquidea.

“I am not telling you what to do, rather (I am) guiding, so you can create.”

He recalled his own training where he was not able to experiment in the way that he wanted until his formal education had ended, and so has adopted a different approach with his young associates.

ThinkArtworkTT studios has also been a space for learning for young tikes as well. Hoyte hosted a programme called Little Picassos where children from two years and over came to paint and create. He explained that these years are crucial for introducing and exposing a child to the arts. He also hosts events for older children called Creative Spirits, where they can have birthday parties and other fun art-themed events in the Think ArtworkTT space.

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