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Art in the age of social media

Sunday, August 20, 2017
Drevait on Sunday

Social media has become something of a buzzword. Upon its utterance, an abundance of negative and/or positive connotations are summoned. There are the people that live their lives through screens and lenses, capturing every moment but not really existing in or experiencing it. There are those that openly condemn social media, and the effects it has on the way we experience things now. There are those that utilize and take advantage of these platforms to stir conversation and share their craft: the creatives.

Social media plays a very interesting role in the art world currently, and has fostered a lot of conversation about the way that we experience and consume art now. You could enter any major art museum or gallery right now, and almost all of the visitors would be equipped with some sort of device in hand, ready to shoot art they deem “instagrammable”, or possibly, take the ever-so-popular “art-selfie”. This shouldn’t be such a big deal or issue, right? Why is this such a huge topic of conversation? Artists are getting more recognition, their work is being shared, their audiences are growing beyond physical space! This should be a good thing- but there is a flaw in this kind of consumption. The experience of the piece is subject to becoming as one dimensional and depthless as the image on the screen. This is antithetical to the whole idea of a museum or gallery visit. Experiencing a piece in person- and actually spending some time with it to think about it, is not the same as seeing an image of it on a tiny screen. Art is more than an image- and is therefore experienced best within physical space.

Social media has done a lot of good for artists still. Especially here. Take Brianna McCarthy for example. The producers of Love by the 10th Date, found McCarthy’s work online, reached out to her, and she provided artwork that can be seen all throughout the film. This would not have happened if it weren’t for social media. Artists here have been using social media platforms to share their work, and more importantly, our culture. Trinidadian culture in the eyes of the rest of the world is a blurred image. Its limited to vague ideas of tropical living- sandy beaches, rum, women. Those that have heard of our little island, most likely know it for carnival, but not mas as we know it, including the rich history behind it. They know it for the party, social media is also partly to blame for this, but we’ll give it a bligh. Local artists have been working hard to provide a clearer view and stronger voice for Trinabagonian culture through social media. This is extremely important, because it allows for a more accurate representation of who we are as a living people, with a collective consciousness. The fact that social media allows for our words and ideas to travel beyond physical borders only helps us to join a larger conversation being had all over the world right now. Our collective, Trinbagonian voice now has the ability to enrich the global conversation in new and exciting ways.

Join the Conversation- follow these creatives!


This account belongs to local artist, Bianca Peake. Whose work is an amalgamation of strong feminist and vibrant Caribbean imagery. Her feed is also something of a love letter to the Caribbean (mostly Trinidad).


The account of Jessika Welch. Her work captures the daily local life we often overlook. Her work on plexi-glass brings a new dimension to portraiture, with her captivating use of color and brush work.


The account of the fete sign man, Bruce Cayonne. We are all familiar with his work. It’s often the backdrop of daily life all over the country. This account is an archive of all of his colorful and fun signs, as well as current signs in progress.


Kriston Banfield is a young artist whose work is visually arresting and charged with symbolism. His feed is comprised of sketches, works in progress and completed pieces, with the occasional introspective local still life- places where he draws inspiration.


This is a great account to follow to keep up with the Caribbean creative community. They spotlight West Indian creators of all kinds- from chocolatiers, to mas makers, to designers.


This account belongs to young artist and film maker, Shari Petti. She recently began a series of short youtube videos called “Small Lime” (they’re amazing- 10/10, would recommend) and who’s short film “Sorf Hair” was also chosen to be a part of the TT Film Festival, as well as the Caribbean Tales Festival in Toronto.


The account of Shanice Smith, whose work is deceptively soft and light, but upon further inspection is actually extremely dense and heavy with meaning. Her work deals with the things that are hardest to talk about, but in a delicate, and beautiful way.


Che Lovelace’s account. A closer look into the artists life, and what inspires him.


This account belongs to artist, Elechi Todd. His unique work ranges from collage, to drawing and painting, performance, video and photography.


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