by Hannah Enightoola, the CREN Team
The University of the West Indies Family Development Centre prides itself in having been the facilitator of the creation of the largest painting created by children in the Caribbean. The painting, entitled “Hope,” measures ten (10) feet in width and twenty-four (24) feet in height. Through the creation process the twenty-two (22) children involved in the ten (10) week internship were given an opportunity to express themselves and use their individual voices in sync within a theme. They learned new skills and concepts and expressed themselves in a way which would resound with the centre and with themselves throughout their lives.
It was our pleasure to interview one of the participants, Ms. Chioma Emesiani, who was an integral part of the creation of the Hope painting. Chioma was also the first place winner in her age category for the University of the West Indies Family Development and Children’s Research Centre’s (UWI-FDCRC) 2012 national poster and art competition for her painting “It’s easy being green.”
Chioma, congratulations on placing first in your age category for your painting, "It's easy being green." Could you please tell us a bit about the idea behind the painting? What message did you hope to convey though this piece?
The main idea behind the painting was to convey that the children are our hope. If we want a better future for our nation, those beliefs have to be instilled in the children. We can compare the situation to that of a computer scientist who wants his software to do a specific task. He will design the programme so as to achieve that vision. If we want a “greener,” more environmentally-conscious world, we have to do the same. We have to teach children to be “green” and then they would teach their children and their children’s children to be “green”. However, for this type of education to be successful we have to unite as a nation to make it happen.
Please tell us about your involvement in the creation of the UWI-FDC painting, "Hope."
I was one out of twenty-two (22) participants who were brought together from various regions of Trinidad and Tobago to conceptualise an idea for the painting, as well as to participate in the drawing and painting phases of the painting.
How would you describe your experience working with children of various ages to produce the final work of art?
It was an interesting experience. It was especially fascinating to observe how the younger participants would interpret the subjects and tasks we were given and how the older ones would interpret the same topics. It was like experiencing the timeline of childhood in real time.
What new insights did you gain from the project?
I learned that there is power in numbers. If we really put all our efforts together as a country, we definitely would be able to conquer and achieve great things.
What are you currently doing in your professional or academic life?
I am currently in my first year of study at the University of the West Indies. I am currently changing my career focus from Film to Economics and Finance.
What advice can you share with young persons who are interested in the arts?
Do your research and ensure that you really want to go into the arts. Then, on a piece of paper, write down three (3) main reasons why you chose to do it. Post it in an area where you can view your list every day. There will be numerous people who may try to convince you that you will not be able to earn a living and succeed in a career in the arts. However, once you know exactly why you are doing it, where you want to go and what you want to achieve, then you are already on your way to success.
Readers, do you have a question or comment for Ms. Emesiani? Share your thoughts below. Thank you!