The History of Grenada's Cultural Art
The term Cultural Art encompasses visual art, literature, music, theatre, film, dance, etc – multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and cross-genre art forms that help to explain the world in which we live. Making sense of our current environment through creative exploration has been a uman endeavour since the dawn of time. The history of cultural art in Grenada begins with the Amerindians. Elements from their lives are inscribed on the rock petroglyphs at Dusquesne, Mount Rich and other places, as well as on the many hand-decorated pottery pieces unearthed in Grenada and in Carriacou. Later on, various artforms have been imported from both colonising and colonised nations. Over the centuries, these artforms have been continually modified, distilled to their ‘Grenadian’ essence.
Art is a fundamental dimension of any culture. From the 1700s to 1900s Grenada has been documented in some form of visual art – maps or sketches of the coastline, drawings or paintings of the Carenage or rural estates. However, within the past 75 years, the visual art movement has been promoted by several entities including the Grenada Art Club, the YWCA Art Club and the Grenada Arts Council.
The Grenada Arts Council
The Grenada Arts Council was established in 1964 to promote creative potential in our Grenadian environment. For 50 years the GAC and its members have been encouraging a national appreciation for visual art and the need for institutional support, with permanent physical structures to exhibit art and to ensure that Grenada benefits culturally, socially, and economically from a truly sustainable resource - its artists.
In 1994GAC president, Richard Buchanan authored a tribute to all those (senior) artists who have made a contribution to this country’s artist development, however modest or inobtrusive by leaving for us a record of what it is like to be alive and living in Grenada. Self-taught and professionally trained artists who all found inspiration in our islands included Canute Caliste (deceased 2005) of Carriacou, Elinus Cato (deceased 2004), John Benjamin MBE (deceased 2010) and medical doctors E.P. Stan Friday, Lincoln Radix and Leonard Slinger.
Art is beneficial to healing from physical and emotional trauma. In 2011 the GAC held a month-long landmark event showcasing artworks specific to the Grenada Revolution period 1979-1983. The show was called Revolution: An art perspective.
The annual art exhibition is the main event on the GAC’s calendar. This event is open to all artists working in Grenadian Art. By definition Grenadian Art is art that is produced in and/or relevant to Grenada, by Grenadian and/or non-Grenadian artists. This year’s signature show marking the GAC’s 50th anniversary opens to the public on Saturday 15 February. The GAC’s gallery is located on Young Street in Saint George’s. The blog of the GAC highlights many of its recent accomplishments as well as showcases the works of several Grenadian artists. Visit http://grenadaartscouncil.blogspot.com for more information.