Last month, Trinidadian artist Pat Bishop passed away. There is no better way to define Bishop than as a "Trinidadian artist”, because she actually covered all the possible artistic expressions that her beloved island could offer. She was a visual artist, a writer, a scholar, a theatre director, a musician and an artisan of mas.
She mastered all the arts of Trinidad and, in doing so, she took the arts of her country forward. Music was often part of her sculpture, and the colours she used for her paintings were the same as the ones she could draw out of her steelpan. She had someone send her pigments from Rome, from a little shop close to the Pantheon, because she said that colours coming from such a beautiful place, close to so much art, would surely shine more.
I met Pat during one of my stays in Trinidad, when I went for an interview about Carnival. I came away with one of the most touching afternoons of my life, but no interview. She asked me many times where I came from, where my parents came from, what I did before, what they did, how was the landscape where I lived, what had brought me to Trinidad. Then she told me you can never look at somebody’s work, without knowing where this person comes from.
I guess there is no better way to look at Pat Bishop’s work as a multifaceted artist than to look at the beauty of her island, which she helped improve, and to view some of her creations from a memorable exhibition held in Port of Spain in 2009. - Giuseppe Sofo