THINKARTWORKTT Studio is pleased to present this month’s Resident Artist, Ottway Jones.
THINKARTWORKTT Studio aims to support Visual Artists by offering a contemporary creative space situated on one of Trinidad’s prime social and entertainment locations, Cipriani Boulevard, POS. For a minimum of 4 weeks, creatives can produce work individually or collaborate during the residency as well as interface with contemporary practitioners living and working in Trinidad.
The residency program would allow artists to spend time working in Trinidad over variable periods. It will facilitate the initiation of cultural and artistic exchange and promote cultural understanding and artistic endeavors across a variety of cultures. THINKARTWORKTT Studio’s program allows the exchange artist to develop professionally through networking opportunities which would be beneficial both to the visiting artist as well as the art community of Trinidad & Tobago through the invigoration of the exchange of ideas and new ways of working.
Ottway Jones has been almost completely unknown in the Trinidad and Tobago art community since he migrated to the United States of America in the late 1960s.
At that time, he was highly regarded as an artist of great promise, associating with many of the prominent artists of the day including Isaiah Boodhoo, Willi Chen, Ralph and Vera Baney, Knolly Greenidge, and Carlisle Chang.
As a student of Fergus Griffin at Presentation College, San Fernando, he worked, as most of the artists in the early 1960s, in a semi-abstract mode influenced by cubist ideas set in a local context.
Since studying painting at Howard University in the USA under the renowned Ethiopian artist, Skunder Boghossian, he has pursued his artistic career in the United States. After graduation, Ottway continued living and working in Washington DC. He was cited by the Library of Congress and at the Mayor of Washington DC’s Office among other emerging Caribbean Artists of note . He was able to display work at the Museum of African Art then located at Capitol Hill and at the Anacostia Museum.
He became immersed in the vibrant activism in the 1970s and 80s in Washington. He muses”.I would be sitting at a round table or in a room meeting the great artists of the world, Pharaoh Saunders, Miriam Makeba, Stokeley Carmichael, Max Roach, Hugh Masekela… “.
He moved to Florida after several years of visiting his family there. There he had worked at several small galleries, joining art communities in DelRay, Boyton, and Lake Worth. Despite being trained as a painter, Ottway had also always worked in mixed media. and it is in this area that Ottway has continued to work up until today.
Ottway’s themes range from the spiritual to the futuristic to the contemporary with strong undertones of political activism. These are often conflated to create unsettling effects. Symbols like circular sun-like discs, machine parts, mandibles, gossamer wings, and sparkling gemstones recur throughout as they do in “Day of the Locust”
This amalgam of imagery, neither literal nor literary, suggests vistas both ancient and futuristic. Memory also plays a vital role in Ottway’s work, with several dreamlike episodes resonating through the artist’s work over the years. Diving off the flat rock in San Fernando. The Mondo Cane episode with the artist’s future disappearing over the horizon. Here we get hints of Ottway’s true importance to our art milieu.
That free play of the imagination present in his work is much needed in an environment where commercial considerations threaten to limit the range of our artistic production in all the arts and where political considerations have imposed a virtual no-fly zone for our aesthetic imagination. Hopefully, artists like Ottway and a new, bolder generation of artmakers will help to expand our boundaries and return local art to a level of seriousness far removed from its present, constipated role as facebook entertainment and. therapy.
THINKARTWORKTT Studio is pleased to invite you to our upcoming Artist in Residence, Ottway Jones, artistic showcase.
“Ottway’s Revelation: King Corona, Queen COVID The Nineteenth and The rest of The Family” takes place at THINKARTWORKTT Studio located #11 Cipriani Boulevard, POS.
Save the Date: 12th – 18th January
Opening: 4 pm – 9 pm
Mon – Thursday : 12:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Friday: 12:30 pm – 8 pm
Saturday and Sunday by appointment
All COVID-19 protocols will be observed