dimecres, 20 d’agost de 2008

"I Left my heart in Andorra", Suelin Low Chew Tung

Andorra is a small landlocked country of 468 sq km, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is governed by a duumvirate - the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell, Spain are co-princes. The population is predominantly Roman Catholic and its people are currently listed as having the highest human life expectancies in the world, at an average of 83.5 years. Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP.

Ordino, one of Andorra’s seven parishes, hosted forty artists representing 24 countries, at the Colours for the Planet Art Camp, organised by the UNESCO Commission in Andorra. Artists from across Europe joined artists from as far away as Cambodia, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Congo and Greece for ten days - from July 23 to August 03 - to discuss and create artwork related to the impacts of climate change. The Caribbean was represented by Cuban artist Francisco Rivero, Haitian artist Patrick Cauvin both resident in France, and myself. We gave a presentation on the Caribbean, its people and its shared history. My gifts of Grenada nutmegs elegantly wrapped in swatches of batik donated by Chris and Lilo at Art Fabrik, were greatly appreciated, as was the authentic rum punch we served. I had many requests for the recipe.

I have a healthy respect for heights, yet I managed to hike up a narrow mountain trail in the Sorteny National Park to 1800m (5905.5 ft), to have a small picnic lunch with three companions, stopping to drink from the numbingly cold mountain springs along the way. (Andorra has public fresh water fonts everywhere, many of them works of art in their own right, and several reminded me of the Hughes fountain in Grenada.) The other artists along for the hike, disappeared further up the trail to descend and have their picnic in the river gorge below. My legs still have not recovered.

Apart from working on my canvases, I worked with Francisco to complete two works of public art sponsored by an Andorran businessman. On the walls of the underpass, we incorporated existing graffiti into folktale designs, and many adults and children stopped to admire the designs. Photographers from the local daily documented our progress. One of the murals was clearly Grenadian - an abstraction of a Shortkee with a nutmeg. Francisco spoke Castilian, Catalan and French but very little English. My rudimentary Spanish was taxed to the limited, but given that we both spoke the language of art, we understood each other perfectly. We also had the opportunity to each create a tree from waste scrap metal, assisted by two staff from a local welding company. I watched my sculpture evolve in front of me, all the time my mind was working up a proposal to get a similar initiative done in Grenada with the youth and the scrap metal available.

My climate change inspired artwork suggested the effects of sea level rise on Grenada. I had brought with me maps that I purchased from the Ministry of Agriculture. These I glued to the canvases, then applied paper mache and paint to create a tetraptych. The four part painting included Amerindian petroglyphs, and a Shortknee looking on. The low lying areas were depicted in intense red, swallowed by the rising levels of the warm and cold blue greens of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. At the final exhibition my work was too large to hang, so it laid on the floor which was quite effective. I understand this piece forms part of an exhibition for UNESCO headquarters in France. The deputy mayor of Andorra received us at the City Hall. She paid tribute to the work we were doing at the camp and to the manifesto we had prepared, which we all signed, emphasising the urgent need to preserve our planet, and accepting our responsibility to spread this message to our communities.

Most of the time in Andorra I thought of Grenada, not that I missed my home, but because of my experiences there could easily translate into Grenada, in terms of public art and the opportunity to expand the cultural horizons of our youth and the general public. I look forward to a return visit.

1 comentari:

Anònim ha dit...

Oi bonita esta página parece muito posicionado.........bom estilo:)
Gostei muito Continua deste modo !