'SOME SYMBOLS DON'T BELONG THERE'
By NEWSDAY STAFF Monday, July 16 2012
A ROMAN CATHOLIC priest has labelled the new mural sculptures at the front of Tower D at the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, which houses the Parliament, as an insult to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
Fr Kenneth Assing, administrator of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, yesterday criticised the work of art during Sunday Mass at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Port-of-Spain.
He said the murals to the front of the building, which first went up during this country’s hosting of the Fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009, were “a distillation of society” and an insult to the people.
“We are a cosmopolitan nation and the murals do not represent that,”said Father Assing.
He questioned the absence of the national instrument. “Why are steelpans not there?” he asked.
“There are some symbols that don’t belong there.”
“It should be redone to represent the people,”said Assing. The priest also questioned why were the murals seeking to segregate the people of Trinidad and Tobago and asked about the relevance of the elephants in one of the new murals, which are in the form of wall sculptures.
He said the elephant was not an animal found in Trinidad.
The elephant is an important figure in the Hindu religion. Lord Ganesh, one of the most popular Indian deities, is the God of Wisdom and bears an elephant head. The elephant head symbolises great intellect and wisdom.
The elephant is also significant in Islamic tradition as the year 570, when the Prophet Muhammad was born, is known as the Year of the Elephant.
Contacted for comment yesterday, the Tourism Minister said the mural project was being undertaken by his ministry as part of the 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations.
When told of Fr Assing’s statements, Cadiz declined to comment, saying the project was not yet completed. He suggested everyone wait until the project was complete before giving their views.
“The project is incomplete and Assing’s comment will be appreciated after the completion,” the minister said. He pointed out that the murals currently mounted were only three of the ten commissioned pieces which are expected to be installed by August 15. Cadiz said when completed and all ten are installed, they will tell the story of Trinidad and Tobago’s history and the people who came.
“The murals are a story of our people and our history,”said Cadiz. The murals were designed by veteran masman Brian MacFarlane, while Ben Gayah is responsible for putting the entire project together.
He said the chosen theme and the depictions in each mural were selected by the ministry and the artist.
Cadiz did not want to reveal the theme of the other seven murals, saying he wanted it to be a surprise.
The minister is today expected to view the already mounted murals. According to a statement from the Tourism Ministry, the sculptured murals, done along ten walls, pay tribute to the country’s rich and diverse culture and peoples who have contributed positively to the growth and development of Trinidad and Tobago. Already murals representing the Indigenous Peoples, Africans, and East Indians have been installed and will move on to pay homage to our Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and French ancestry as well as the contribution of oil and gas, and sports to the economy. A special dedication will be done on the island of Tobago.
The statement said it was the ministry’s hope that the project will leave a lasting impression on the numerous visitors who will visit Trinidad and Tobago during our Golden Jubilee Independence Celebrations as well as all citizens.