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Poster children for violence

Posted in Opinion by Adele Todd on January 28, 2008

A tub used in the installation

Three artists recently did an installation in Belmont, Trinidad and Tobago. They received funding from the Netherlands foundation, Prince Claus to build a makeshift structure on a plot of land. The work centered around crime in the country. You enter a picket fenced yard and open a door. Once inside, the interior is black and you use the UV light given at the door to comb the crime scene. Revealed are drawings on a derelict sofa and on the floor and refrigerator. There is a small area where you can see through to the ground and a video is looped over that space and looks eerily like a scene from Predator.

The artists, Nicholai Noel, Marlon Griffith and Jamie Lee Loy have endeavored to recreate a scene of violent crime, on a main street in the city. The reaction for such an event is mixed. So many questions remain to be asked, and in a way, that proves the success of the work.

choosing that location for example is a stickler, as opposed to an area untouched by real violent crime? Are they somehow glamorizing the theme by posing the objects in the house? Are they accomplishing what they have set out to prove or show?

I understand their dilemmas. I too have done a great deal of work on crime, and I am very concerned about aping the reality by drawing from images in the newspapers and in all other media.

While doing my embroideries on the subject, I was very wary of sending a sanitized message, of not reaching the mark of what I really want to say. It isn’t an easy choice to do work on contemporary subject manner. You do come from a place of (that dreaded word to some) privilege. But so be it. Artists are impacted by society and vice versa, and so we create because we have to, and it is in the creating that we can look at ourselves even when we more often than not, miss the mark.

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