Art and who came first

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The history of The St Michael School and the outstanding achievements of students, faculty, and alumni are currently on display for all to see.

The art exhibition runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day, until Saturday, July 6, at the Barbados Arts Council Gallery at Pelican Craft Centre, Princess Alice Highway, Bridgetown. It showcases some of the pioneering women and men who made invaluable contributions to Barbados, and who attended the school since its establishment on May 7, 1928. Also on display is quality art by present and past students and teachers, some of which are available for sale.

Curator of the exhibition and past student, Judy Layne-Banks, said she staged the exhibition to celebrate The St Michael School’s 91st anniversary this year.

“We started with research because, yes, it is an art exhibition, but we wanted to do a review on the school’s history. We looked at persons who were [pioneers] in certain activities, our outstanding girls, the first sixth form students, the first staff, the first scholarship winner and then [other] achievements. We looked at the uniforms through the years as well,” she explained.

Visitors to the exhibition will get to gaze upon the wall of “firsts” where they will see a photo of the country’s first female Governor General, the late Dame Nita Barrow, as well as others, including the first director of Women’s Affairs, Marva Alleyne; the first female Chief Immigration Officer, Patricia Cooke; the first Director of the Child Care Board, Phyllis Roett; the first Manager of the Securities Exchange, Virginia Mapp; and the first female Probation Officer, Hildegarde Weekes.

There are also relics from the early days, including a food carrier, which is akin to a modern-day lunch box, a three-legged pot, an old school bell, and textbooks used by students in the 1930s to 1950s.

One of the current students displaying her art at the exhibition is Lower Sixth Form student, Jada Hope. Her piece, Let It Go, won a silver award at NIFCA. “It is my favourite piece; it really represents all that I love about art, utilising mixed media and acrylics. It represents the powers in the world that control us that we can’t get away from. I am just happy that I was able to display it here at the art gallery, which is a tribute to 90-plus years of art and greatness at The St Michael School,” she asserted. (BGIS)

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