Published on: March 16, 2014
A steups is a heavy thing. A short, sharp steups is a sign of dismissal or disregard. A long watery steups could hold a world of disgust and anger. In the Caribbean, we steupsing since our African ancestors came over the long dark water. We steups at things that break our hearts.We steups because to cry would make it all too real. When you take a steups and mix it with the loud colour, strong graphic treatment and contemporary imagery of pop art reminiscent of Warhol and Basquiat, you get Richard Mark Rawlins recent exhibition aptly titled “Steupps”.
We thought the show was beautifully presented – loud, vibrant and exciting with an undercurrent of despair. The show was spread all over social media, as people were encouraged to photograph and share the work just about everywhere. From photos of creatives in “Steupps” bandanas on Instagram, to “Steupps” stickers appearing all over Port of Spain, it was probably one of the most really populist shows we’ve seen in a while.
We made an evening of it, starting at Brooklyn Bar for a few beers, then walked across the park to Medulla Art Gallery. Art nights at Medulla liven up this usually quiet section of Woodbrook. Medulla gatherings spread over onto the street with lots of chatter, loud laughter, impromptu photo shoots, copious amounts of wine (or Stag if like us, you came from the bar) in addition to the art watching that takes place down stairs. The residents who observed people walking down the road in white bandanas masking their faces, emblazoned with Richard’s Steupps mouth graphic must have taken it all in stride. Art is sneaky like that – sometimes it spills onto the sidewalks.
We ended the night by walking back from Medulla toward at Drink Lounge and Bistro on Rosalino Street for a few more beers, with a few more friends and some great food. Just another night on the island.
Writer: Ayanna Gillian Lloyd
Writer & Editor based in Trinidad and Tobago.