Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Visiting Chickland

I consider myself fortunate to know Bunty O'Connor. She is a remarkable artist whose medium of choice is clay. She lives with her husband, Rory, on a picturesque ridge in central Trinidad known as Chickland which is found in the borough of Chaguanas. This has been their home for the last two decades and daughter Nan and her family still live on the family compound. Bunty pioneered a distinctive style of pottery in Trinidad that began with her Ajoupa houses in the 1980's. These Ajoupas (simple thatched Caribbean houses) were the beginning of an exciting business venture, Ajoupa Pottery.
The piece below is from an earlier show and is just one of the many pieces that dot the large garden.
The house is a world away from Port of Spain.

When I arrived for lunch, this is the scene that greeted me in the kitchen. Freshly baked bread and anthuriums.

We had organic eggs with our lunch and they do taste very different. These wild eggs come with bright yellow yolks. As the chickens lay the eggs all around the garden, finding fresh eggs is an adventure.
I had a really lovely day with them today. Bunty is putting together a new show that will debut at the Art Society in Federation Park on Feb 3rd 2009 and it was a chance for me to get a sneak preview of all the creative work that has been going on for the last sixteen months.

Bunty's older pieces still hold a timeless charm. And I still hanker for ones like the one below. But her newer work is more whimsical and shows the influence of her frequent hiking and forest adventures. It is peopled with creative figures that celebrate much of Trinidad's melting pot of culture with a large dollop of folk lore and fanatasy thrown in for good measure. Her last show in 2006 ( introduced many of these fantastical figures and introduced a streak of humour and playfullness to her work that added a whole other dimension to her exisiting canon.

More tomorrow.


Sunita Mohan said...

I love that clay girl. And I love those anthuriums! Those obake anthuriums seem as big as leaves, dont they ?

islandgal246 said...

Sharon how exciting to share with us! I too have fallen in love with that piece I will call the curly head lady. Oh how I miss that simple and natural lifestyle of the West Indian country ajoupas. I will definitely visit her site. Your blog is making me nostalgique for Trinidad. I may be taking a trip to my birth island Grenada next month.

Barbara said...

I like this lovely curly girl which deserves a special place in a special garden!

Anonymous said...

Anthuriums? Look at that house! Good to see a traditional Trinidad house again.

My Chutney Garden said...

Thanks everyone. This place really has a remarkable vibe. It also appears to easy in restrospect but I really admire Rory and Bunty for moving out to Chickland in the mid 80's to live a different life. It has certainly shaped the entire family in an amazxing way.