Monday, May 24, 2010
Button Up - Dave Williams on Richard Rawlins
This was possibly the last Friday that my friend, a confessed and unabashed PNM party supporter, would have under the existing governing regime. And maybe this is why he - graphic designer and artist, Richard Rawlins - chose to make his statement at this moment, so pregnant with possibilities and pessimisms.
The Button Project, an art-commerce event, unusual on the Trini artscape where artists are never supposed to be seen as having any commercial connection to their work, other than via red dots and well-spoken, well-commissioned, socialite gallerists. This project was independently staged and funded by the artist and pieces were designed and priced to go. From the price patches which were themselves larger than the actual pieces, to the volume discounts you could receive with the size of your purchase; the commerciality was a gloriously refreshing affirmation of independence, creativity and sustainability.
The night air was wet and humid with the pound and echoes of passing music trucks proclaiming in soca verse and rhythm "We love you so, we take good care of you only the PNM understands', the chorus of this year's PNM. In this dewy political ether, Richard's illustration-clad buttons offered for sale in the small box room at the Alice Yard seemed to resonate sentiments that were in stark yet entertaining contradiction to this patriarchal mantra of patronage; and even to his own political alignment.
The project features, in miniature, satirical commentaries that he had been cathartically rendering over the past two years, like a conversation between he and himself - to me, an illustration of a deeper rift between him and his faith in loving systems that were "taking care of us". Now, on Election Day, today, I wonder if he has reconciled himself between his own genetically engrained political camaraderie, and the voice of dissent of his protestative, but humourous work. I wonder if he has yet cast his vote, and I wonder of the agonising moment he would spend in that tiny box.
View photos in greater detail here, in the 'buttons' flickr set, and see additional photos from the night of the event.
Additional photos and posts to be added very soon.