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Born to create space for young voices

Published: 
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Kriston Banfield, Elechi Todd and Christopher Ross-Dick working together on a painting at the launch of the Born to Create artist collective.

T&T has a new collective of young visual artists, musicians, dancers, writers and spoken word creatives, known as Born to Create (BTC). Among the trends expected to shape 2015 is the behaviour of Generation Z, a demographic roughly defined as those born after 1993. Generation Z are socially conscious. They are independent, go-getters who create their own path and look for solutions on their own. They take action. BTC is evidence that a percentage of the Gen Zers reside here.

BTC is the brainchild of Hugh Callender, a 19-year-old spoken word artist and musician. The group aims to inspire young artists and create room for them within the local art community through initiatives that include public events and publishing efforts. BTC sees the role of the artist as one of instigating consciousness, of stimulating thought, enlightening society and creating positive change. 

Their logo, a tree, represents ideas of bearing seeds, regeneration, growth, sustenance and life. The tree is also a symbol of understanding, awakening and awareness, a reminder of the account of Buddha attaining enlightenment while meditating under a bodhi tree.

“We are also seeing a growing collective understanding of a bigger message or story and themes that we seem to be, as a group, all confronting from many different angles,” Callender said. That story is one of life—a shared narrative of what it means to exist in the space of T&T, and by extension, the world.

BTC introduced audiences to their story with a launch event on March 28, at Queen’s Royal College. Lining the school’s corridor were towering paintings by Kriston Banfield, Elechi Todd and Christopher Ross-Dick. Banfield’s piece, Potent Garland, shows a figure adorned with a wreath around the neck as both a fragrant mask for the stench of a decaying society and as a noose that chokes the wearer. Banfield interrogates notions of appearances and intentions while intimating a social demise. Todd’s work addresses ideas of collusion and political conspiracy in the piece Cahoots and he considers a perception of women as sex objects in The Display. Ross-Dick attends to concerns about making sense of self in The Story of Creation, a piece in which key elements are two arms outstretched in an effort to cling to the other.

At the end of the corridor, audiences were invited to enter the school hall where simultaneous creative activities were underway. Live performances included those by Young Spanish and King Tutt rapping lyrics, in concert with rapid brushstrokes by Banfield, Todd and Ross-Dick, who collaborated on a painting at the venue. 

Word, sound and image were harnessed as reciprocal energies to create a picture of both hurts and hopes—a multilayered landscape of which the various artists are very much a part.

BTC is poised for the creation of avenues to have young voices heard and, as enterprising Gen Zers, they have already done what can be the hardest thing: they have taken their first step.

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