Life enthusiasts living local wherever we go.
You’re Art, Mail’s Art, It’s all ART……..Or at least that was the concept that gallery director and curator Raquel Vasquez LaRoche, a recent Urban Heartbeat winner, had in mind. Nine months ago, La Roche initiated her idea by posting to her Facebook and Twitter pages asking people from around the world to send her self portrait postcards via traditional post mail (remember that existed?) The concept was simple, and had been done before but never in Trinidad, which is why Venezuela born, LaRoche; a visual artist herself, thought a mail-art exhibition such as this one was so important.
“Postal Art Trinidad and Tobago” came just in time for the 50 year anniversary of mail art itself. The founder is debated, but most members of the community trace the roots of mail art back to Ray Johnson’s New York Correspondance School. “Correspondance” is deliberately misspelled because Johnson saw the postcards, letters, collages and drawings that he had collected and displayed in an art gallery as a means of interaction, thus transforming correspondance into a verb rather than a noun. Mail art (or Correspondence Art) has since grown into a community or cultural movement with many websites and forums where members go to find mailing addresses to send their art to. They call themselves “The Eternal Network” and the more well-known members of this community even have their own
Originally, LaRoche intended to hold her exhibit in Alice Yard, a well known spot for art forms of all kinds to flourish. Little did she know however, that she would receive hundreds of postcards from over 43 different countries,. With such a high demand for space, the gallery was moved to 33 Murray Street in Woodbrook, at a place called Bohemia. Bohemia is also a popular spot for artists like 3 Canal to spend their time doing what they love. Some postcards were photographs, some were collages, some drawings, others paintings, and there were even the occasional letter. Very few were sent right from Trinidad, but LaRoche received postcards from countries as far as Japan, Russia, Mauritius, Finland, Holland, Germany and Hungary, just to name a few. She even received emails from frustrated senders, many from Latin America whose post card never made it to Trinidad because their mailing system fails them the majority of the time. Some senders sent their postcards in series, hoping to tell a story by the end either with pictures or words. One of LaRoche’s favourite stories from this exhibition is about a long distance couple who sent postcards separately and asked to have them be placed next to one another in the exhibit.
It is clear that La Roche fills her days with meaningful work. She is a young woman who not only innovatively adds to the art scene in Trinidad, but also puts her love for visual art to work through interior designer and hosting mail-art workshops for kids in the National Library. Within the exhibit, there was even a section dedicated solely to children’s mail-art.
“Postal Art Trinidad and Tobago” was held for two weeks between Friday April 25th and May 4th, but La Roche is hoping to now move the exhibit down to San Fernando granted she finds the space for display. If you have any ideas please free to share and we will send it her way! Anyone can join this community and any form of self expression art is encouraged, once it’s respectful, so if you’re interested in getting started visit www.postalarttrinidad.com to learn more.