Monday, March 22, 2010
Richard Rawlins: Alice Bangi
Richard Rawlins's design sketches for the Alice Bangi
Visiting Suriname at the end of February for the Paramaribo SPAN exhibition, Alice Yard collaborator Richard Rawlins was inspired by artist Roberto Tjon A Meeuw's Fatu Bangi project.
A fatu bangi is a traditional item of outdoor furniture often found on roadsides in rural Suriname. "Bangi" is the Sranan word for bench, and "fatu" means big, but also refers to an informal gathering of friends, a lime. Often made from scrap wood, the fatu bangi is a big bench for liming--a spot to sit and observe the world go by, share stories and ideas.
On his return to Trinidad, Richard set about his own bangi project at Alice Yard. He writes this note:
“Wow,” I said to Sean Leonard, chief architect of Alice Yard. “I want one.” That desire and inspiration would basically see me through the fourteen-hour residency project of building Trinidad and Tobago’s first ever fatu bangi with my partner Mariel Brown.
My recent trip to Suriname left me buzzing with an incredible amount of ideas and creative energy. My first fatu bangi experience in Suriname was the work of artist Roberto Tjon A Meeuw outside the DSB Bank in Paramaribo, and later his other humungous creation inside the bank’s compound.
I’ve called my interpretation Alice Bangi, after the yard of course. The Alice Bangi actually breaks into two sections, to facilitate easy movement of the piece as it traverses round the yard. It also allows for additional back rests to be created from time to time.
This Alice Bangi is meant to be a major participant in the life of the yard.
Richard Rawlins, Mariel Brown, and Sean Leonard, working on the Alice Bangi, Saturday 13 March, 2010. Photos by Christopher Cozier
The final touches on the Alice Bangi, which will take place over time, are 3x3-inch stencils recording every major occasion, show, or artist's project that passes through the yard. The first stencils record initiatives like free+three, Erotic Art Week, 12 the Band, INDIgroove TV, Draconian Switch, Jemima Charles's Cones project, and others.
Above: Sean Leonard relaxing on the completed Alice Bangi. Below: stencils on the seat of the Bangi record recent events and projects at Alice Yard. Photos by Richard Rawlins