The Bridge: Journey and Connection

Jason deCaires Taylor

A few weeks ago my friend and fellow creative Asher Mains invited me to a preview event on Facebook (as one does) for Grenada Contemporary 3 The Bridge; an exhibit that will open on Tuesday 11th Oct, 2016 at Susan Mains Art Gallery at Spiceland Mall . I had forgotten all about the event until I dropped by the gallery on Friday to see whether I would by chance bump into Asher who had returned from exhibiting in Columbia a few weeks ago with Susan Mains and Christina Cornier(he rolls deep in the international art scene that Asher). I missed him, but, Daniella (also a creative that works and exhibits at the gallery) reminded me of the event. 

On Saturday evening at 5:10 I was in the valley of decisions (oh the drama). I was at torn between whether I should go to the preview at 6:00 or veg out with netflix during my mummy's alone time evening. I managed to tear myself away from binge watching gossip girl starting with SE 1 Ep1. 

I did not quite know what to expect from my evening. I thought it would be the usual exhibit set up (with free wine and nibbles) but with the artist being available for a chat. After all, it was called "Conversations with Artists".  As I approached the gallery, the glass doors were closed and I could see the small group, a panel and audience, already engaged in conversation. I slipped in and spotted one available seat, as I settled I began to get a feel for what this night was all about. 

The Bridge; a connection facilitating the journey from one to place to another, from the known to the unknown (as Susan so aptly put it), or maybe back to a familiar place. As the exhibiting artists present reflected on the concept of a bridge and how it was interpreted and represented in their work I zoned out. I had a vision of myself journeying from my self to my self on a bridge of my body which seemed to have become one with nature, overgrown with vine and moss suspended, hovering over a large body of water. A question was thrown out; who  is the hero of your piece? I zoned out again and the concept of the hero's journey came to mind. 

The Rick Field piece 

As the discussion progressed, Lilo, co owner of Art Fabrik (Grenada's only home grown batik boutique and studio) made a comment about artists in general and their defining trait being their ability to view their everyday surroundings and find the art. Artist Rick Field had just talked about his coral sunglasses iPhone photography piece. Lilo made a very valid point when she said that thousands of people go snorkelling everyday, and there must be millions of sunglasses that have become part of coral reefs all over the world. However, it takes an artist to pull from our surroundings, highlight and communicate something out of the ordinary and seemingly mundane. To find beauty and meaning and proactivity that is the mark of an artist. 

Lilo and Chris ( someone wearing their piece chatting with Teddy Frederick in the background )

As the conversation continued artist Teddy Frederick walked in with a woman. She was wearing one of Chris and Lilo's Art Fabrik creations. It was a one size batik shift dress. I have a similar dress that I made when I worked at the studio. It was the one time I was allowed to batik during my 6 month stint before I went to (The University of the West Indies (UWI). I still own this dress, in fact it is the dress I wore when I gave birth to Baby N, the exact moment I transitioned from maiden to mama in the most intense and transformative experience of my life. 
Me (in the red dress) at the snack and wine table next to the lady in the dress that was the bridge 
I decided to work at Art Fabrik after I had applied to study law back in 2008. At the time I thought it would be my last chance to work in a creative field before real life started. After I gave birth to Baby N I quit my job at the firm and started working on a creative marketing team that has allowed me to explore my creativity once more. It was a difficult decision leaving the field that I had spent 5 years studying and 2 years practicing in to write blogs and create Facebook, twitter and instagram content. It took a lot of courage for me to leave something so solid and respected for something so new (a real millennial profession...professional blogger!). I knew that I had to release myself into the current of life and that the opportunity to leave came into my life at just the right moment. The connection, the organic fibres of nature's bridge had already started to grow into the direction of my purpose while baby N was the size of a julie mango in my womb.

The birth of my daughter made me bold. It gave me the courage to be authentic and to not spend life holding on to the edge of the pool with clenched fingers afraid to let go. Life is for swimming in the limitless and vast expanse! I had been battling internally, disappointed that I did not remain true to my creative roots which I abandoned when it was time to "grow up". Her birth, and my rebirth, in the dress I made while having my fun being creative is  a symbol of my connection back to creativity as a lifestyle, as something valid that deserves energy and attention beyond one project every 10 years. This is a journey of myself to myself and through myself. It facilitated the journey back home, yet to the unknown. The two are not mutually exclusive. I will not go into explaining that 7 years invested into a legal eduction and experience was by no stretch a waste of my time  (that is another post). 

Recently I have been reading/listening to "The Celestine Prophesy" The second insight speaks about noticing the coincidence and seeing them as more. It is the way the universe communicates to the keen observer. It is about viewing life; history and present from a birds eye perspective, viewing the progression of events and seeing where we are at in relation to where we have been and possibly where we may go and all that we discover in between. Life is a continuum and perspective allows us to make the bridges and seeing all of life as one harmonious piece of literature. 

What is your bridge? Have you experienced something similar? A moment or event that makes that connection that sets you on an adventure...a soul adventure?


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