Thursday, December 18, 2008

Under de Box

20 December, 2008, 7.00 pm, at Alice Yard


Under de Box, an fundraising exhibition showcasing the work of Alixzandar Morle (aMorle) and Jabari Cook (JB), opens at Alice Yard on Saturday 20 December, 2008, at 7.00 pm, and continues until Tuesday 23 December (3.00 to 8.00 pm daily).

"Being an artist in Trinidad and Tobago is a struggle. It's almost as if we are literally placed under a box," says 20-year-old Morle. The show's title is a reference to the ensnaring of animals such as wild rabbits by trapping them under a box. What happens under the box? The exhibition, says Morle, will showcase what the artist creates while he himself is "under de box". The works, inspired by urban street art, are done chiefly on scrap materials such as plywood, galvanise, and cardboard. "No one can hear, see or smell us! We are under de box! But it's about time we lift up dem flaps and climb out!"

Alixzandar Morle is a first-year student at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. He work has been featured in shows at Euphoria and Queen's Royal College and in campaigns for the Heroes Foundation. Jabari Cook is a graphic artist.

For more information, call 739-4386.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A conversation with Brendan Tang

19 December, 2008, 7.30 pm, at Alice Yard

Manga Ormolu version 2.0-f (14.75" high), by Brendan Tang

Brendan Tang was born in Ireland of Trinidadian parents, and is a naturalized citizen of Canada. His work engages with popular/contemporary culture and post-modern philosophy, employing humour, decorative opulence, and craftsmanship as modes of communication. He has exhibited in juried and invitational shows across Canada and the United States. He currently resides in Kamloops, British Columbia.

On Friday 19 December, 2008, at 7.30 pm, Tang will give an artist's talk at Alice Yard, discussing his career and working process, and his current engagement with his Trinidadian roots.

For more information on Tang and his work, visit his website:

Manga Ormolu version 2.0-i (13 x 9.5"), by Brendan Tang

Shooting the Messenger (12 x 8"), by Brendan Tang

Friday, November 28, 2008

En Route, by Marlon Darbeau

10 December, 2008, from 7.00 pm, at Alice Yard

En Route ... Of Bridges and Barriers, an installation project by Marlon Darbeau, opens at Alice Yard on Wednesday 10 December, 2008, at 7.00 pm, and continues until Saturday 13 December (3.00 to 7.00 pm daily)

The project "explores the comfort and the coziness of escapism, and the inherent and inescapable value of denial" in contemporary Trinidad and Tobago.

For more information on Darbeau and his work, visit his blog:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Neila Ebanks - performance and discussion

Alice Yard this Friday October 17th at 7.30 pm

Jamaican dancer, choreographer and teacher Neila Ebanks will be visiting Trinidad this week to host workshops in both Trinidad and Tobago, perform with the Continuum Dance Project directed by Sonja Dumas, and present her own work at Alice Yard.
The University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT)-hosted workshop took place on the weekend - October 11 and 12 - at the Caribbean School of Dancing in Port of Spain.
Ms. Ebanks who directs her own dance company - eNKompan.E - is currently an instructor in the School of Dance at the
Edna Manley School of the visual & Performing Arts and will be teaching work from her repertoire over a two-day period. On Friday, October 17 she will showcase her work at Alice Yard.

This will be followed by a post-performance discussion facilitated by local choreographer Sonja Dumas. Ms. Ebanks completes her tour of the country with a workshop in Tobago on Saturday October 18th at the Dance Studio on Bacolet Street.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Water and Me"

Saturday 27th September at 7.00 pm

Ugochukwu Bright Eke and Alice Yard open new project at the YMCA this Saturday

Ugochukwu Bright Eke

In culminating his Commonwealth Foundation Residency programme at Alice Yard, Nigerian artist "Ugochukwu Bright Eke" will present a series of installations entitled "Water and Me".
Ugochukwu developed these works-in-progress whilst in Trinidad as a continuation of his interest in the negotiations / interrelationships between man and the environment, and will continue these investigations, through these works, as they travel around the world.
The showing of these works will also integrate the choreography of Sonja Dumas's "Continuum Dance Project."

Ugochukwu Bright Eke is Alice Yard's first international artist-in-residence. He is a winner of the Commonwealth Foundation’s Arts and Craft Award for 2007, and has chosen to use his award grant to visit and work in Trinidad.

Venue: YMCA , Benbow Road (off Wrightson Rd) , Port-of-Spain.

Saturday 27th September at 7.00pm

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

'The Universal Human Experience'

Kishan Munroe of Nassau will speak about his latest project:

"The Universal Human Experience"


Paramount to Munroe's project is the investigation of peoples on opposing sides of various contemporary conflicts which have historically changed modern regional and global socio-cultural interaction. The range of the dialogue shall span a myriad of disputes; by way of example: the Holocaust to the Iraqi war to Haitian/Bahamian relations; the white/black racial divide; gang rivalry; controversial Australian Immigration practices; the war against Terrorism; and the Rwandan Civil War.

Kishan Munroe was born in Nassau Bahamas in 1980. He is the product of a social, cultural and historic continuum of artists in a region where the tradition of art-making is expressed through its many layers of varied and complex histories. In the fall of 1998 Munroe embarked upon his studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. He double majored in Painting and Visual effects and completed his undergraduate work with honors in 2003. He went on to pursue graduate work at his alma mater on a graduate fellowship and concluded his studies in Painting in 2005. Munroe's work has been exhibited both in the Caribbean and the United States and is included in many public and private collections. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including: grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Governor's Choice Award (Bahamas), The Nancie Mattice International Award, and The Combined Merit Fellowship at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Kishan Munroe is based in Nassau

Animae Caribe introduces MAX HATTLER

This Tuesday 23rd September at 7.30pm

Animae Caribe introduces to Alice Yard, German born, London based media artist / animator Max Hattler, as part of the Animation and New Media - Vjaying UK session & Visual Lime.

MAX HATTLER has performed live visuals across Europe & the US, including Tate Britain, the ICA and the Animation Show. His abstract political short film "Collision" won several prizes, including the LUX Award for Best Experimental Film. Dazed and Confused, a pop-culture zine published in the United Kingdom, described him as one of “three of the world’s most exciting young animators”, next to PES and Model Robot. While his films tend to be without dialogue, they explore the relationship between sound, music & the moving image.

see interview here

Friday, August 8, 2008

A conversation with Ugochukwu Bright Eke

11 August, 2008, from 7.30 pm, at Alice Yard

Alice Yard presents its first international artist-in-residence: Ugochukwu Bright Eke from Nigeria. He is a winner of the Commonwealth Foundation’s Arts and Craft Award for 2007, and has chosen to use his award grant to visit and work in Trinidad.

On Monday 11 August, 2008, at 7.30 pm, Eke will discuss his process for developing works and programmes stimulated by his experiences in Trinidad and Tobago. Merging conversation and installation, the evening's event will draw on and explain his interests in the environment, community, and performance.

For more information on Eke and his work, visit his blog:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"All in a night at Alice Yard"

By Mariel Brown

First published in Caribbean Beat, May/June 2008

It’s Friday night in Port of Spain. No doubt, as on any Friday night in any city around the world, people are getting ready to go out, to any one or combination of an assortment of bars, clubs, lounges and rum shops. I’m heading to Alice Yard for “Conversations in the Yard.” A place that doesn’t quite fit any of the aforementioned categories, in essence, Alice Yard is really no more than its name implies: a yard, a paved area in the back of an old house on Roberts Street, in Woodbrook, an old-fashioned, middle-class suburb of the city. And yet it’s become a regular Friday-night spot for a certain small crowd.

“Conversations in the Yard” is a weekly event organised by Sheldon Holder, singer-songwriter from 12 the Band, in which someone with a specific area of interest or expertise leads a conversation. Sometimes musical groups perform or artists show their work; some weeks there’s a guest DJ playing his or her favourite tunes—amateurs only: it seems the criterion for spinning at the yard is a love for all kinds of music, and you’re as likely to hear Billie Holiday as you are to hear the Renegades steel orchestra’s rendition of Pan in A Minor. Some nights there’s just a handful of people liming, and other nights a hundred people will squeeze into the tiny space. Everything is open to the public, and there’s no cover charge.

It’s 9.30 pm, and despite the fact that every e-mail flier says come for 9, things tend not to get started there much before 10. So I don my T-shirt and flip-flops (a dress code would be anathema to the place) and head down to “the yard” (as it’s affectionately called).

Tonight two designers are launching lines of T-shirts, a local rap group is performing, an artist is sprawled on sheets of cardboard on the ground, and another artist has installed a bay-leaf-strewn “chicken coop” in one of the outbuildings.

Graphic artist Nigel Des Vignes has a full pot of corn soup bubbling away on a gas ring on the ground. He says he’s recreating Charlotte Street—a downtown street where the roadway doubles as a vegetable market—so there are hands of green figs, limes and ground provisions strewn about the place. In between, Des Vignes displays his T-shirts in cut lengths of bamboo and pinned to a clothesline. Architect Terrence Smith has rolled his line of T-shirts (which he calls “Old”) into discarded beer cases. People drift between the installations, trying not to tread on Michelle Isava, who’s scribbling abstract doodles on her cardboard mattress. They’re obviously discomfited by her—a beautiful, pale-skinned vagrant who seems oblivious to everyone around. There are drinks for sale at an ad-hoc bar, and stewed chicken with red beans and rice. A guest DJ is playing roots reggae.

It’s a strange, interesting, fragmented sort of night. Looking around at everyone doing their own thing, it’s hard to tell who’s in charge here. And in a way, this combination of creative exploration and quiet anarchy is what the creators of the space would want most.


Alice Yard came into being in September 2006, during “Galvanise,” a six-week-long programme of contemporary art and performance activities set in various traditional and non-traditional venues around Port of Spain. Sean Leonard, an architect and custodian of the property, says he had been wanting to create a space “where things could be made.” At the time, 12 the Band was in need of a rehearsal space, and artist Jaime Lee Loy was desperate to find an exhibition site for her “Galvanise” installation. “It would give me the opportunity to play,” explains Leonard, “and to enter into live investigations of the potential of the urban yard space.”

The yard at 80 Roberts Street is familiar territory to Leonard, who spent much of his childhood playing with his siblings and the neighbourhood children in what was then his great-grandmother Alice’s backyard. Leonard says Alice is a kind of mythical figure to him: “She was always feeding everybody: panmen, people in the street. The composition in the house was always changing. She had a soft but respectful and powerful presence.”

In fact, when Leonard first took Sheldon Holder to see the property, Holder says he felt a great energy coming from the place.

“It’s a special yard to me,” says Leonard. “Generations of my family have spent time there. My parents had their wedding reception there; my mum’s wedding dress was made there; my first night-mas [Carnival] band started there. It’s always been like that: very active, creative. Full of tension.”

For Holder, the offer of a room, however modest, was opportune. “When Sean brought me to the place at first,” says Holder, “it was a 10-by-13-foot storeroom, literally, and I was like, ‘I wonder if this will really work, boy.’ I was like, ‘Man, if we getting we own place, no matter the size, we’ll make it cut.’”

So 12 took over the storeroom and made it into a soundproof bandroom, Jaime Lee Loy held her exhibition and Alice Yard, the contemporary art and music space, was born.

In September 2007, in collaboration with artist Christopher Cozier and writer Nicholas Laughlin, Leonard opened “The Alice Yard Space,” an exhibition area in the yard. It’s a modest space, rather like a large box with a glass front and halogen lights, which, since the closure of the CCA7 gallery in mid-2007, has been providing a venue for experimental art practice.

“The break-up of CCA7 was depressing,” says Laughlin, “and the commercial art scene is depressing. It all seemed like dead ends. But Alice Yard feels like a kind of opening up instead of closing down.

“I also feel there’s a kind selflessness about Sean and the way he’s going about the thing: the sense of modest improvisation, the emphasis on conversation and collaboration, on quiet, effective work rather than grand pronouncements. There’s also the hopefulness of Alice Yard, of the whole venture.”

Holder says Alice Yard is “an attempt to serve people from on the ground. It really is meant to evolve into a sort of community centre—a resource for everything creative.”

Fundamentally, the yard exists to serve artists and musicians. Whilst the Friday-night lime might be a cool scene and attract an interesting hodgepodge of onlookers and limers, there’s a kind of nonchalance that suggests this really isn’t about the consumer. In fact, Sheldon Holder gets antsy if he thinks there are too many people there. He’ll opt, defiantly, not to send out an e-mail shot or not to organise a performance or a “conversation” the next week, so that the vibe at the yard can realign itself. Holder’s attitude is quite extraordinary when you consider the prevailing night-spot culture, where the public relations machines work to bring in the clientele. The yard’s lack of pretence and marketing strategy is refreshing.


Spotrushaz, a local rap group, is explaining to an audience member why they rap with American accents. Some people listen intently to the discussion, others carry on their own conversations, and Nigel Des Vignes offers me a cup of his “best” corn soup and encourages people to pick the limes up off the ground and take them home: “Like allyuh don’t know how expensive limes are these days!” It’s all in a night at Alice Yard.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Blur bs, by Steve Ouditt

29 February, 2008, 7.30 to 10.30 pm, in the Alice Yard Space

ouditt blur bs 1

Installation view of Blur bs, from The Abjection Collection, an artistic research PhD by Steve Ouditt

Over the course of 2008, on a bi-monthly schedule, Steve Ouditt will exhibit six works from his current artistic research PhD, The Abjection Collection. All six exhibitions will be installed at Alice Yard on the last Friday of the month, with the first exhibition on 29 February.

On the Friday of each exhibition, Ouditt will read excerpts from his PhD thesis, and the installed work will remain as part of Alice Yard's regular “Conversations in de Yard” Friday series.

The five subsequent exhibitions are scheduled for 25 April, 27 June, 29 August, 31 October, and 19 December. These will be announced closer to the scheduled dates.

Ouditt's artistic research PhD, The Abjection Collection, is being done through the Cultural Studies Programme of the Department of Liberal Arts, Faculty of Humanities and Education, University of the West Indies, St Augustine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Preserving the Future: A conversation about architecture, heritage, and the Boissiere House

boissiere house front

All are invited to this informal event to talk and learn about the historic Boissiere House (currently threatened), Trinidad's architectural heritage, and the importance of preservation.

Alice Yard will host a variety of multimedia installations with images and stories of this and other historic Port of Spain buildings, as well as a "recording booth" where you can record your own memories of a rapidly changing city, to preserve them for the future. There will also be an open conversation about the social value of preserving all aspects of our cultural heritage; plus information about the campaign to preserve the Boissiere House.

Do you have questions or ideas? Want to volunteer to help the Boissiere House campaign? Are you simply concerned about the ways our city and country are changing before our eyes, and what we are losing? Come and join in the conversation.

Alice Yard, 80 Roberts Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain
Friday 22 February, 2008, at 8 p.m.

More details about this event soon.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tonight in the Alice Yard Space: Dream House, by Elspeth Duncan

As part of the Love Is Green event tonight at Alice Yard, artist Elspeth Duncan will show an interactive artwork called Dream House in the Alice Yard Space gallery.

Love Is Green runs from 8 to 11 pm on Friday 15 February, 2008, at Alice Yard, 80 Roberts Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain. All are invited.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beyond the Alice Yard Space: La Fantasie

la fantasie announcement

La Fantasie is a collaborative project by three artists--a site-specific installation at 41-43 Norfolk Street, Belmont, Port of Spain. It opens at 4 p.m. on Friday 25 January, and runs for three days. Click the image above for more information.