Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Creole School

I bit the bullet. I finally stopped procrastinating, and did something. White creole identity, or lack there of. The misappropriation of roles. I began to illustrate the gap between identities and roles where, as I grew up, I found myself. The confusing contradictions.











As much of these inconsistencies became evident to me while I was in school, I realized that the school itself was a strong symbol for me. It seemed to be a place where roles were handed out and enforced by everyone there, oftentimes with the recipient having little or no say in the matter.








They are all actually quick sketches done in colour pencil and the last in gouache.
Details...details...I will quickly run through the relevance of certain visual elements to me.

The little girl (she doesn't have a name as yet) is I think either a memory or a persona of myself, I am not sure as yet.I wanted to illustrate certain inconsistencies in roles that really remained in my mind after all these years. Things that for the sole reason of the way that I looked, were seeming tasks I should/could not do by my beloved fellow Trinidadians(braiding one's own hair, sweeping the floor , owning a fancy new car and eating creole food correctly).

So this character should appear with her hair braided all by her self and not by a maid. And she will also carry her broom which she has used many times before. She gets dropped to school in her mom's old Sunny. And she also likes to eat doubles, whether is its correctly or incorrectly, she bringing it.

It was a very natural thing to depict my character as a child and in her uniform. Then I realized the possibility of using the school as a symbol. These roles and the inconsistencies are enforced and reinforced at school, on the way to school and on the way home from school.

Who is doing all this enforcing and reinforcing? Classmates, teachers, one's parents, other parents, people you meet on the way and any random person who feels the need to shout it across the street, which is quite common.

But the symbolic nature of the school needn't always be implicitly there as in the last drawing. It is implied in the way she is dressed and in her hairstyle.

So there I am, I have made progress. The most progress I have made in a long time. And I feel really good about it.








3 comments:

Guanaguanare said...

Alicia, this is so exciting! I am looking at your paintings and I want to ask you about every single detail. I love them all but I have to say that your depicting this child always from the back is causing me some anxiety. I want you to continue because I want to follow her and stay close to her. I am not sure that what she is approaching is going to be kind to her. I am having my own flashbacks. That third painting really grips - such a perfectly vulnerable neck and part through the hair. So many things are welling up but I want to go back. Better to remind me now that it is much later, than never.
Blessings

Alicia Milne said...

They are all actually quick sketches done in colour pencil and the last in gouache.
Details...details...I will quickly run through the relevance of certain visual elements to me.

The little girl (she doesn't have a name as yet) is I think either a memory or a persona of myself, I am not sure as yet.I wanted to illustrate certain inconsistencies in roles that really remained in my mind after all these years. Things that for the sole reason of the way that I looked, were seeming tasks I should/could not do by my beloved fellow Trinidadians(braiding one's own hair, sweeping the floor , owning a fancy new car and eating creole food correctly).

So this character should appear with her hair braided all by her self and not by a maid. And she will also carry her broom which she has used many times before. She gets dropped to school in her mom's old Sunny. And she also likes to eat doubles, whether is its correctly or incorrectly, she bringing it.

It was a very natural thing to depict my character as a child and in her uniform. Then I realized the possibility of using the school as a symbol. These roles and the inconsistencies are enforced and reinforced at school, on the way to school and on the way home from school.

Who is doing all this enforcing and reinforcing? Classmates, teachers, one's parents, other parents, people you meet on the way and any random person who feels the need to shout it across the street, which is quite common.

But the symbolic nature of the school needn't always be implicitly there as in the last drawing. It is implied in the way she is dressed and in her hairstyle.

So there I am, I have made progress. The most progress I have made in a long time. And I feel really good about it.

Thank you for asking questions and engaging me in dialogue. I think I will now include my explanation to you within the entry.

Gster said...

Lovely stuff!