Draconian Switch #20


The use of T&T Chinese newspaper ephemera, for Draconian Switch #20, was spurred by an interview I recently watched, with poet Derek Walcott. In it, he talks about the West Indian writer and the articulation of a Caribbean heritage. He makes a case for Caribbean art as having only just scratched the surface and the conditions leading up to a more complex West Indian genius.

This region is already, but is going to become increasingly phenomenal in terms of its output. Somebody is going to take into account the presence of Hindi...all of the other different dialects that are there. The West Indian genius is still too small. It is not complex enough. You don’t know anything about Indian epic. You should, I should. You don’t know anything about Chinese epic. But that’s what you have. That’s your heritage. So your heritage is immense. It is immense. And it’s incomparable because of the variety of what your sources are...

A return to Trinidad is humbling. Everybody's an artist I told a friend earlier today. Riffing from a Cuban quote, "In Cuba, everybody's a musician. And if you're not, you play the guitar." But really, how can you not be an artist. As Walcott points out, the West Indian heritage is our's — something we have inherited and really not to be taken for granted. What comes out of that, is its own best thing as Toni Morrison would say. In essence, isn't that what good art is? It's own best thing. The use of T&T Chinese newspaper is a design element I've purposely incorporated in Draconian Switch #20 to give voice to a Chinese presence in the Caribbean. To acknowledge, in a small way, this rich heritage Walcott speaks proudly of. To see Caribbean art find its footing eventually in a globalized world.


Trinidad & Tobago's 4th Prime Minister, Patrick Manning