Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Fifteen years later


Fifteen years ago today, on 15 September, 2006, Sean Leonard opened the driveway gate of the house at 80 Roberts Street, Woodbrook, and welcomed us all in to a place he had decided to call Alice Yard, after his great-grandmother Alice Gittens. It was, that first evening, a simple Woodbrook backyard, paved with concrete, with a laundry sink in the corner. He had offered this backyard as a venue for the artist Jaime Lee Loy to present a new artwork, a video installation, and in subsequent weeks and months Sean continued to offer Alice Yard to his peers as a space to imagine, converse, and play.

Fifteen years later, imagination, conversation, and play are still our motive and our method. Over the past decade and a half, Alice Yard has worked (and played) with many dozens of artists, musicians, writers, dancers, maspeople, filmmakers, curators, and others. Some spent a short time with us, some lingered for a while, some never went away. A year and a half ago, we left that backyard in Woodbrook and relocated to Granderson Lab — the former Granderson Bros. printery — on Erthig Road in Belmont, on the other side of Port of Spain. The move put to a practical test our belief that Alice Yard is not, essentially, a physical site, but a series of ideas and relationships — a practice, a process — a space and not a place, extending through and beyond Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Caribbean to include interlocutors and fellow instigators dispersed geographically around the world, but connected by intentions and affinities.

We are driven by curiosities rather than ambitions. We keep going because others keep stepping up and stepping in with ideas and questions we want to grapple with. Sometimes we’ve wished to move very fast, and sometimes we’ve deliberately chosen to slow down. The past fifteen years have been inspiring, challenging, occasionally exasperating, and never boring. We continue to dream, improvise, and argue with an always changing constellation of friends, colleagues, neighbours, and antagonists — to all of whom we say thanks.

On 15 September, 2006, the one thing we perhaps could not imagine — or didn’t need to — was that we’d still be doing this fifteen years later. Then, there was no destination in mind. Now, we’re still not there yet, and we’re still full of questions. Nothing could be more thrilling.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

T.V. to See the Sky

Inspired by Yoko Ono’s work, SKY T.V.
Monday 21 June, 2021, beginning at sunrise 5:42 AM Pacific Standard Time, and continuing for 24 hours

This event is inspired by Yoko Ono’s second conceptualization of SKY T.V. in 1967 for the Lisson Gallery, which she described as “a T.V. just to see the sky. Different channels for different skies, high-up sky, low sky, etc." SKY T.V. 1966 (furniture piece) was a video sculpture described by Ono as “a closed circuit T.V. set up in the gallery for looking at the sky.” It broadcasts a live video feed of the sky from above the building where it was installed — a way to bring the sky inside, even if a space lacked windows. In collaboration with Yoko Ono, the Getty Research Institute and the Feminist Center for Creative Work will present a 24-hour video streaming of the sky via Zoom. A network of international institutions will participate in a live broadcast of the sky transmitted to audiences at home. At a time of profound revolution and reflection, a time of restricted travel but great desire for connection, we seek to draw upon Ono’s invocation of the sky as a space of generative possibility and renewal as well as a territory beyond the reach of capital and ownership. The event takes place on 21 June, 2021 to coincide with and celebrate the Solstice and the Strawberry Moon Eclipse (June 20–24).

Registration link for attendees:

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Bruce Cayonne: Once Upon a Fete

Thursday 11 to Thursday 18 February, 2021, at Granderson Lab


During the month of February 2021, artist and sign painter Bruce Cayonne is in residence at Granderson Lab. Cayonne’s work spans over thirty years, and he is responsible for shaping a visual language unique to Trinidad and Tobago — the fete sign.

During his residency, in collaboration with Alice Yard, Cayonne will present a series of over twenty-five hand-painted fete signs — WASA, Army, Short Pants, Boxing Nite, Licensing, and more — recreating original signs from the 1990s from memory. The signs will be installed at Granderson Lab, and outdoors on Erthig Road, between Pelham Street and Norfolk Street.

Once Upon a Fete opens on Thursday 11 February and runs until Thursday 18 February, from 5 to 9 pm daily. Face masks are mandatory and COVID-19 safety protocols will be in effect.


About the artist:

Bruce Cayonne is an artist and sign painter based in Arima, Trinidad. He has been painting fete signs for the past thirty years. His iconic work has come to define the visual landscape and history of Trinidad and Tobago with his signature fete style — bold, precise lettering against colourful and vibrant gradient backgrounds, each sign hand-painted on hardboard and hammered onto lightposts. The signs promote upcoming events, from all-inclusive fetes to local markets and festivals. His work can also be found elsewhere in the Caribbean, in places like Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Guyana.
Over the past three decades, Cayonne has produced thousands of signs and has collaborated with numerous artists and musicians, such as DJs like Kabuki, Dr Hyde, Howie T, Foreigner, and Nyahbinghi, and visual artists like Christopher Cozier (T&T), Blue Curry (UK/Bahamas) and ds4si/Intelligent Mischief (USA). Once Upon a Fete is his first solo exhibition, featuring fete signs from the early 1990s to the late 2000s.