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Oval artwork to be repaired quickly

By Kim Boodram

THE artwork gracing the walls of the Queen's Park Oval, which was vandalised at the weekend, will be repaired quickly.

Managing director of Label House and one of the founders of the People's Canvas project, David Lewis, said yesterday repair efforts were currently being mobilised and should be feasible without too much expense.

Nineteen of 21 prints of the work of local artists were slashed by a vandal, with the damage being discovered on Monday. The repairs will be done by Label House, which prints the wall-sized reproductions.

The prints, from inception and the installation of the first cache of work in 2008, were done inexpensively and with the assumption that vandals would strike at some point. Lewis said the project was luckily spared for a long period, with only minor damage from time to time during Carnival, which also appeared to be accidental.

This week's deliberate damage was the worst attack on the project so far.

"We have always taken the project seriously and repaired it whenever there was damage and we will do it again," Lewis said in a telephone interview yesterday.

"It will stay alive."

Lewis thanked those corporate sponsors who have stood by the project and also the Queen's Park Oval for its dedication. The People's Canvas project was intended to give up-and-coming local artists a place to showcase their work to the general public and also to allow visitors to Trinidad to glimpse some local art culture in passing. The project was backed by local corporate sponsors, as well as the Ministry of Tourism but funding petered out over the past two years. Though the project was kept going, it was difficult to change the prints every six months, as was originally planned.

Managing director of Fine Art Ltd, Anthony Hosang, which now handles the project, said yesterday there may yet be some good to come of what was clearly an act of vandalism.

"Perhaps this will generate some corporate and public interest in the project and give it the boost it needs," Hosang said. "Maybe we will churn up some patriotism."

Hosang described the vandalism as "disgusting" and was saddened that an individual or individuals found joy in destruction.

"Even during Carnival, the walls remained clean and that gave us such a great feeling," he said. "Last year there was damage to one print and that seemed to have been a mistake. This, to me, is a sign of the times."

The project is not a money-making venture, he said, and in the midst of an economic downturn many activities were competing for corporate sponsorship.

Some new funds have recently come in, however, and will go towards changing the prints for a fresh outlook in 2013.

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