Entornointeligente.com / The trinidad Guardian / Artist Christopher Cozier’s mixed media composite work Madman’s Rant, created in collaboration with David Rudder and based on Rudder’s song of the same name, is an arresting and awe-inspiring creation.
The work, composed of a series of panels, visually illustrates various lines and concepts from the song.
In a conversation between Rudder and Cozier on February 6, hosted by the mas group Vulgar Fraction, the artists reminisced about creating the work. Cozier said the process was nerve-wracking because the work kept getting more and more grim. He said he worked on it until Rudder said: “it finally have kaiso in it” which gave him permission to go ahead with it.
Rudder said in some ways, the work is more important than the song. “I haven’t seen it in a while and I’m seeing things I didn’t see before. It’s worse now than then, it’s funny how life imitates art, all of us who want better for the country have to deal with the stark reality of what’s going on and we’re still not ready to do it, and that’s the question in the wider society.
Rudder said while he has always had a special relationship with madmen, he modelled the madman in the song on Mad Mac, who used to be at the corner of Belmont Valley Road, who would go on rants similar to the fictional madman.
Cozier noted that many young people felt slighted by the song when it first came out, and one young man even accosted Rudder at a Minshall band launch to ask what Nike did to him.
When asked how he goes about creating his work, Rudder said he tries to clear his head and just do the work.
“I build my songs from the noises of the people. Often I write quickly and it usually is more powerful, but then I have to go back and question, why did I do that?” Cozier said much of his inspiration comes from walking around Port-of-Spain on a familiar route he used to take after school.
Both artists agreed that music and visual art can be used to record and study history, after an audience member said the archives of T&T history in T&T were non-existent or not maintained, and there was more information available abroad.
Rudder said without knowing their history, people can have no foundation.
“Europeans wrote their history, Africans passed it down orally, here in T&T we have combined the two through calypso. If you listen to calypsoes over the years, you can track the historical events that are taking place,” opined Rudder.
Cozier noted looking at the piece brought back memories of the place and context in which he painted it.
“I’m very interested in visual representation as a mean of recording history. We have not grasped the changes of the last 20 years and it would be interesting to examine how artists have been designing over that period.”
In response to an audience member who asked if he was in denial by being optimistic about T&T, Rudder, after a long pause, said the closest he’s gotten to optimism was seeing the new generation had “come with some melody this year, and melody tells us there’s some movement. It started happening last year, it’s gotten stronger this year and hopefully we’ll hear more voices as we go along. While things are still falling apart, there’s a little extra competition on the centre.”
Cozier said he thinks the society is making progress.
“Trinidad is a very small place, so we’ll never have big shifts but at least we can be ethical, and we’re having discussions we’ve never had before and I think people are more outraged by certain things and where this new generation is going, a small society could really make a difference by just being remarkable, and you also need a sense of humour.”
Madman’s Rant is currently on display at Granderson Lab, 24 Erthig Road, Belmont, until Saturday, February 17.
Madman’s Rant ends on Saturday
Con Información de The trinidad Guardian
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