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Residency at Alice Yard, Trinidad and Tobago - July and August 2016

I embarked upon this residency with the intention to create work with materials found here, in Trinidad. I brought with me a packet of 24 karat gold leafing and my x-acto knife. I brought with me metals, one to slice and one to disguise.

In Hard Alchemy, I guilded coins of the lowest denomination: one cent, five cents, and ten cents. In a gesture of superficial alchemy, most specifically chrysopoeia which is the transmutation of base metals into gold, leafing the coins transformed them into something new. The change, previously nearly worthless, gained new allure both in presence and and value. They are anachronistic as there are no longer coins made of gold used in commerce. The coins remind us of pirate booty and of foil-coved chocolates all while they remain recognizable as legal tender. They have become the embodiment of desire, while still clinging to the truth of low value.

In Save Me Hanuman!, I call upon Hanuman to exact my revenge on the little creatures which wriggle, bite, and sting. Using images cut from an illustrated children's book of Hindu stories and a book on local insects, I have found both hero and antagonists to play out the battle between insect and god. This reimagined adventure invokes Hanuman for his courage, the courage I do not have in the face of the insects of Trinidad. In the works The Unreborn and Terror Cascade, I explore my fear and revulsion of caterpillars from larva to pupa. The Unreborn is an installation of 60 paper cocoons hanging from pins. Terror Cascade depicts a portal of enlarged caterpillar heads dripping with caterpillars falling headfirst and disappearing into another portal. The works Take That! and It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Hanuman! portray Hanuman in the air and mid-strike attacking the caterpillar monsters.  In another piece, I present a full page from the Ramayana titled There's Something on Your Face! Let Me Get That For You! and in this image I suggest that Hanuman is aggressively removing an insect from another Hanuman's face with his scepter. Lastly, there are a series of photos taken from around the yard with paper insects terrorizing the paper-cutout gods from the storybook.

Installation view

Terror Cascade and The Unreborn

Hard Alchemy

There's Something on Your Face, Let me Get That For You!

Take That!

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Hanuman!

Floor installation

Take That!

(the monster)

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Hanuman!

Terror Cascade

The Unreborn

Floor installation

Photographic sketches from around the yard: Ravana and the Snake

Photographic sketches from around the yard: Valmiki, Luv, and the Moth

Photographic sketches from around the yard: Valmiki in the Nest

Photographic sketches from around the yard: Surasa and the Moths

Photographic sketches from around the yard: Kumbhakaran and the Toad

Photographic sketches from around the yard: Kind Dashratha and the Wasps

Photographic sketches from around the yard: Dashratha and the Yellow Bird


Alice Yard is the backyard space of the house at 80 Roberts Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain.

This was once the house of Sean Leonard's great-grandmother. Four generations of children played and imagined in this yard, and now we continue this tradition. Alice Yard is a space for creative experiment, collaboration, and improvisation.

Alice Yard is administered and curated by architect Sean Leonard, artist Christopher Cozier, and writer and editor Nicholas Laughlin, with the help of a growing network of creative collaborators. Read more about us here. Alice Yard is a non-profit organisation incorporated under the laws of Trinidad and Tobago.



Special thanks to:

Christopher Cozier, Sean Leonard and Nicholas Laughlin of Alice Yard

Ashraph of the Frame Shop

Living World, The Journal of The Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club, Trinidad 2015
Ramayana: The Epic Journey, Sterling Publishers Private Unlimited, New Delhi, India 2010








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