The wax museum immortalizes the icons of Trini music

Some of the Caribbean’s greatest calypso, jazz and classical musicians are here in Barbados, forever – immortalized in wax by the Caribbean Wax Museum.

The figures of three icons of Trinidad and Tobago, the Calypsonians David Rudder and Calypso Rose and legendary jazz and classical pianist Hazel Scott were unveiled Thursday at UWI Cave Hill.

The wax figures, which were created in part by the Caribbean Wax Museum in association with the Barbados Association of Trinidad and Tobago, seek to draw attention to the legacy of these pillars in their field with the use of 3D art.

In brief remarks, Calypsonian John King – now Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister of Culture – said he believes Caribbean artists still struggle to produce and sell their many works, due to perception among citizens that such a work has no real value. . This is a perception, he said, that must change for the region to fully realize the real value of our indigenous culture.

King praised the iconic trio and the significant impact of their heritage in the Caribbean diaspora, as they have opened up many avenues for future artists to follow and develop their Caribbean identity. He noted that they, like many others, would have been recognized on the world stage for their creative skills and styles, in the Caribbean artists are still underestimated.

King said: “The way we were taught to see art, the way we were taught to see artists and the way for some unknown reason in 2021, to have a certain ambivalence towards artists. things that we create ourselves, is unfortunate. , but it is the truth that we are going to have to face.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, even as an artist myself, it’s that the only way to grow is to become uncomfortable because when we are comfortable, we don’t really look at things and we don’t analyze and try to grow.

“I think the Caribbean has become very comfortable with the fact that we can do things like this when one of our artists has passed away.”

The Minister of Culture also stressed that it is incumbent on all citizens of the region not only to support and praise the iconic creative pillars when they have passed away or have retired, but to support them throughout their lives. many successes, because they have contributed enormously to the development of the region. with their gifts.

King said: “This may be the time when we can appeal to the general public and ourselves, to ensure that institutions like the wax museum are supported in a completely different way.

“The only people who will be able to make a living as an artist, are the audience, and if we’re part of that audience, and if we want that kind of creativity and that kind of honor to continue to us, then we have to be the ones who get the word out, we need to be the ones willing to step into our pockets and help ensure that these kinds of businesses don’t die of natural causes. Again, this is part of our history that we need to change. “

Caribbean Wax Museum director Arthur Edwards said it’s important to remember regional icons in tangible and vivid ways to keep their exploits relevant to new audiences.

He said, “We honor people, this is what we do, we are aiming to give them life, a way they will never be forgotten. I think that’s the best you can give someone if you have a way to do it – a moment in time, three-dimensional, I don’t think you can beat that.

“You put plaques on the walls, you rename the buildings, and we do whatever probably makes sense in a certain way, but after the people are dead, the meaning passes, because the name that was attached to a building no longer becomes the name of the person, it simply becomes the name of the building. A geographical location, therefore honor is dead. We are trying to go beyond that. “

The Caribbean Wax Museum, located in Norman Center, Broad Street, is home to another iconic figure of Caribbean music, the Mighty sparrow.

Recognized as “the mother of calypso”, Calypso Rose, real name Linda Monica Sandy-Lewis was the first female star of the genre, responsible for changing the term “calypso king” to “calypso monarch”. From his pen have flowed more than 1000 songs that tackle difficult social issues head-on in a career spanning more than 20 albums.

At 68, David Rudder is considered one of calypso’s most innovative songwriters, starting out as the lead singer of the marching band. Charlie’s roots. He published kaiso standards such as The hammer, Calypso music, Bacchanal lady and Rally around the Antilles, the anthem of West Indian cricket.

Less known in the Caribbean, Hazel Scott, who died in New York in 1981 at the age of 61, was in the 1950s the gifted toast of the world of jazz and classical piano. Born in Port of Spain, Scott was a child prodigy who, after moving to the United States with her mother as a child, studied at the prestigious Julliard School on a scholarship from the age of eight. A prominent jazz singer in the 1930s and 1940s, she became the first black person to host her own American television show, The Hazel Scott Show, in 1950. But her career was truncated by McCarthyism, the hunt. to anti-communist witches from leading artists and artists. (SB)

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