Bridges to the world

The “airbridges” that link to planes at T&T’s Piarco Airport now showcase local art, thanks to Republic Bank

Artwork on the airbridge at Piarco International AirportIn the Shade by Camille ParrisMagic of the Monarch by Jonathan Smith

Republic Bank has never shirked its responsibility to the communities it serves, and has been vigilant in finding and creating avenues to support others to achieve more. The bank took this belief to a new level when it hosted its “Canvas to the World” project, an invaluable opportunity for artists to display their works on the Piarco airbridges – literally the junction where the world meets Trinidad & Tobago.

The 14 airbridges presented a rich cultural and physical space for the bank to do more than merely advertise. Republic Bank wanted to take these powerful spaces and transform them into artistic pronouncements to the world of Trinidad & Tobago’s skill, splendour, spirit and strength.

In the past, the bank has facilitated public viewings of the work of talented but unknown artists, who have included not only staff members, but also customers from throughout the branch network. The bank has also purchased numerous pieces of artwork.

The first six airbridges were completed in 2009/2010 and bear the work of local professional artist Robyn Knaggs, who has several years of experience and success. Her impressive résumé includes commissions from various private collectors and businesses, including Republic Bank.

Deciding what to do with the remaining eight airbridges presented the perfect opportunity for Republic Bank to put its philosophy of staff empowerment and youth development into play.

The bank made an open call to all staff to submit their art pieces for consideration. It was difficult to select one signature piece that would capture all the criteria for the project, but a painting by Lynnette Edwards of the

Credit Card Centre did just that. Her whimsical and magical piece evoked rich, verdant forests and an abundance of native animal life.

Next, secondary-school artists were challenged to pick up the gauntlet, and indeed they did, as over 23 secondary schools from across the country submitted over 100 high-calibre original art pieces. The “Young Artists Canvas the World”, as this part of the project was dubbed, took on a life of its own. The young artists selected to represent the nation on the Piarco airbridges were to be affirmations to the world of the country’s artistic potential and a representation of its flora, fauna, culture and lifestyle – the very things that make up Trinidad & Tobago. After a month of discussions, shortlisting, debate and consideration, the bank and its team of artists made their decisions.

The curtain has been drawn on the Canvas to the World project, but it has only just been lifted on the art pieces that now adorn the Piarco airbridges. Once again, Republic Bank has successfully worked with the community towards cultural development, preservation and youth empowerment. The bank looks back on the time spent on this groundbreaking project with fondness, wonder and pride.

 

The chosen artists:

Johnathan Smith, Hillview College, Tunapuna
(“The Magic of the Monarch”)

Sophia Mitchell, Naparima Girls’ High School
(“Celebration”)

Ella Bayne, International School of Port of Spain
(“Early Morning Snack”)

Camille Parris, St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando
(“In the Shade”)

Meagan Wong-Sang, St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain
(“The Cocoa House”)

Sarah Achim, International School of Port of Spain
(“The Coconut Vendor”)

Shivani Sibaran, Naparima Girls’ High School
(“Temple by the Sea”)