Collaboration: Simone de la Bastide, left, and Gabby Tommy stand in front their collection of work at ‘An Art and Photography Exhibition’ at Horizon’s Art Gallery, Mucurapo. de la Bastide’s photography exhibition will continue at Horizon Art Gallery for another week. —Photos: Verdel Bishop

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Art for the Ark

Simone de La Bastide teams up with Gabby Tommy to produce art and photography for children’s charity

By \\\\\ Verdel Bishop verdel.bishop@trinidadexpress.com

Simone de la Bastide has been a keen photographer for years but never considered putting her images on display until the suggestion arose during discussions for raising funds for the Children’s Ark, her charitable NGO dedicated to children.   After family and friends convinced de la Bastide to go public with her work she decided that teaming up with Gabby Tommy, an artist whose work de la Bastide has long admired, was the perfect option.  Together, de la Bastide and Tommy recently launched “An Art and Photography Exhibition” at Horizon’s Art Gallery, in aid of her charitable organisation. 

De la Bastide has always been at the forefront of helping the disadvantaged in society, having spent 15 years at the helm of Women in Action for the Needy and Destitute (WAND).  When it comes to her photography exhibition there are really no boundaries.  Her photographs depict places, people and things related to her travels to diverse places such as India, Europe, Kenya, the Baltics and around the Caribbean.  

 The philanthropist considers herself an amateur professional but her work speaks for itself -- it says a lot about the passion and dedication she has for her art form. She has an eye for detail, and through her amplified lens she brings viewers closer to the colourful objects and places that are important to her. The exhibition itself is engaging with strong photographs such as the prints on canvas titled “Sanctuary” (Triptych), “Smoke Charmer” (Diptych),  “Alpha.Omega”, “Scales”, “Concrete Jungle”, “Glorious Maracas” and “Small Catch and Pulling Seine” (Diptych) .  Seventy-nine pieces of de la Bastide’s work are on display. de la Bistide is proud of the public’s response to her work.  She noted however that she is not in any hurry to mount another exhibition.

“I am a professional amateur.  I’ve never exhibited before and I am happy about how things turned out but this exhibition is a one off for me. I won’t do it again in a hurry. A lot of people have been telling me for years to have an exhibition but I never thought I was good enough. The exhibition went very well indeed; the gallery has decided to carry it on for a couple more days,” de la Bastide said. 

It took de la Bastide several months to put her pieces together with dozens of photographs to choose from. Her aim was to have a presentation that will please a wide cross section of interests.  “The thing about photography is that if you are having an exhibition you have choices; you can choose to either exhibit the quality of your work or exhibit what will sell. I did a bit of both because photography is like that; you can show you photographic skill but it doesn’t necessarily mean  that there is a market for it but if you can combine the two of them then you could have something that works. This exhibition has been a learning experience for me and a very exciting one. All profits will go towards to the Children’s Ark. I am very happy that I have joined with Gabby, I have always admired his work; his work is exceptionally wonderful. We will be assisting the Margaret Kistow Home for Children in Arima.”

De la Bastide has also teamed up with the Youth Training Centre (YTC) for a programme which will involve encouraging  young children to read to fathers in prison.  The programme is sitll in its initiatial stages but de la Bastide is confident that once it comes off the ground it will be very beneficial to those involved. “A lot of resources are needed to facilitate this project. We will need a supply of books and audio equipment. We are still working on it. We are an organisation that raises funds to assist other NGOs. We make sure that they are capable and able. We never give money but we help them to meet their needs,” de la Bastide said. 

 President  Anthony Carmona has commended de la Bastide for her efforts. “There is no nobler cause than the one being pursued by The Children’s Ark. There can be no greater symbol of protection than The Ark.  The Ark could push society to bear witness to it’s humanity by our actions, rather than our glorious word,” Carmona said. 

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