Two artists – one bed

Posted in Opinion by Adele Todd on September 12, 2007

There aren’t many artists who are married to each other in Trinidad and Tobago. Of the few, Irenee Shaw and Christopher Cozier make a formidable duo. She is known for her nude self portraiture, and he for his. Mr. Cozier would not say that his images of a stripped to the torso or completely naked running man is in fact himself, but this is quibbling. His past works are filled with the images of a man of colour in all stages of angst. He has not produced such imagery in many years, but this work represents a large part of what defines him as an artist.
These images are silhouette shapes, the man can be seen holding a crutch either using it for support or manouvering it like a gun or a phallic symbol of wounded sexuality and power. His is a reaction to society, a wanting to be seen, heard and felt. A battlecry of an awareness of weaknesses and a desire for strength.

By contrast, the work of Irenee Shaw is demanding in its in your face bigness. She would work to scale and her hair would symbolise an emblazened halo of curls almost Medusa-like in its wriggling and turning. Her nudes explored the idea of woman as martyr and goddess. She made no apology for this and she also would look at decorative elements within her work as a sort of testing of the bounderies of what was acceptably feminine juxtaposed against her strong female form.

I think that it is important to write about their work together, although they have gone out of their way over the years to set very seperate identities.

Two working artists looking at self identity living in the same house, going through the everyday is relevant to our short history of Art in Trinidad and Tobago.

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  1. selina said, on May 29, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    i think that this painting decribes way more than what it seems. unbelievable

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