Before I do tell you about the last week in Vienna or we explore some more, I need to tell you about today. Because today was an emotional success. I don't know if it really came through in yesterday's blog, but this first week back hasn't been the most awesome. You know, the stuff I need to take care of before I can settle into my work and study and live rhythm. Well.
I got a break today, from all that, thanks to my friend Mark. He took me along to Macqueripe, where he was invited to an art showing by Che Lovelace, at his house and studio. I was slightly unsure whether I wanted to go or not, for a number of reasons. On one hand, I love art and I hate how little access to it I have here and I knew there would be lots of new people there. On the other side, I had a bad night and was still tired and a little sick from that and Macqueripe is so far away even from town and then I'm far from town on the opposite side and I knew there would be lots of new people there. Tough-ish.
My love for art won.
And, man, am I glad it did!
I took a maxi into POS and Mark picked me up by City Gate and from there we drove out to Chaguaramas, taking a right towards Macqueripe just after the boardwalk and Pier One. Macqueripe is mostly known for the beach and the ziplining, but Mark taught me something new today. The residences in Macqueripe (and I didn't even know there were residential houses there...) were built for American officers and their families while the US had military bases on the island. Apparently, they still belong to the army, but can now be rented by anyone. They used to be the latest trend and pretty luxurious back then and while now they're not all that anymore, they're still really nice.
And from the picture you can see how open the space is, so there's a nice breeze there that allows you to turn the fan off. I really enjoyed that today!
What I also enjoyed very much were the people present. Mainly from the point of view of the researcher inside me. When you move around the arts scene, there's automatically a lot of people from outside. As in, from outside Trinidad. As in, the people whose lives I'm researching! I don't yet know why, but I hope to find out in the course of my project. So seeing those people and making new contacts was difficult but wonderful at the same time. Really, in that sense it was a rather productive day, because that experience can even go into my fieldwork diary!
What did I like best, you ask?
(Really, you have to ask?)
Anyway, my favourite part of the day was the art. All of it. The paintings on the walls in all the rooms. The paintings just leaning against the wall and the paintings under the bed. The paint and the brushes and all the utensils. The books. The music. The air in the place, the whole atmosphere. Like, whoa...
It felt really good to take it all in and Che Lovelace is a really approachable person, or at least that's how it seemed today. I've only meet him this one time so far, but it was definitely a good first impression. Everybody was asking questions and not only did he answer them patiently, he answered them expensively, showing his knowledge as well as his passion. That was interesting for me as a student, because his views on culture are very interesting and I hope to at some point be able to pin him down for an interview for my thesis. And it was interesting for me as a person who likes art and paints herself from time to time, because his style is very intriguing to me. The colours as well as the materials incorporated are just so similar to what I wish I could work with.
Thing is, I haven't gone to art school and I don't have all the knowledge and experience and I'm one hundred percent sure I'm also not patient enough. I wish, though, how I wish...
Go check this guy out to get a nice look at Trinidadian art. And if you're as lucky as me, you'll get stories of influences and thoughts behind paintings and about the process and how it feels and even tips on where to go for inspiration.
Now, the reason I say today was helpful is that now I feel more secure in my being in Trinidad. The homecoming obviously didn't go or feel the way it could or should have and I've spent this first week missing more than just my family and friends, pondering the quality of the life decisions I've recently made. (Whoa, this got really heavy really quickly!) Anyway, the point is that today I enjoyed landscape and cityscape. I got to present myself to people as a PhD student and explain my work to them - and they were more than just a little bit interested; some seemed like they're actually looking forward to contributing through an interview at some point. I got to breathe art again, one of the things I miss the most when I'm not in Vienna. Therefore, for all of that, I just feel a lot more secure in being here, in Trinidad and at university. A lot of assertion today, which was quite necessary. I'm doubting and second guessing myself a lot less since this afternoon. I believe the first step out of the hole has been taken. (Overly heavy stuff over.)
Thanks, Che, for the glimpse into this fantastic world, which I hope to see more of.
Thanks, Mark, for bringing me along today.
Thanks, you, for reading.