Che Lovelace, painter of Trinidad's rhythm and colours
Back in 2018, I visited and loved one of the best summer exhibitions of this year: Get up Stand Up Now at the Somerset House, showing pivotal Caribbean artists. This is where I discovered and fell for Che Lovelace (@chelovelace). The gestural and colourful paintings attracted my hungry eyes as well as the uncommon composition that I had never seen before.
Cheikh Sedar Lovelace (b. 1969), aka Che Lovelace was born in San Fernando in Trinidad. Son of Earl Lovelace, a renowned journalist and writer, Che Lovelace grew up in Matura, a countryside part of the island, and now live and work in Port of Spain, Trinidad. His practice resides in painting and he has had exhibitions with many renowned art galleries such as Eric Hussenot (Paris), Vigo Gallery (London), Half Gallery (NYC) and more recently at Various Small Fires (Los Angeles). Lovelace’s style is vivid with a colourful palette tending to blue, red, green and yellow. Today Lovelace mainly paints on board panels, usually with four separate ones that are then sow together. In his textured painting, Lovelace main themes are dancing figures, taking his inspiration from photographs of himself or of performing artists; Carnival, and the landscape of Trinidad (urban and natural).
The combination of several boards together is a way to think of the painting with different spaces, break up a sequence and put them back together, offering a window for the viewer to look and dive into the energetic and colourful culture of Trinidad. The variety of subjects in his paintings is never boring and always captivating, the eye wander in the different parts of the painting and discover new elements every time. Growing up in the countryside inspired him to paint landscapes and now living in Port of Spain, Lovelace also depict vibrant and lively urban landscapes.
Che Lovelace was not always interested in art, it is only at the end of the 1980s, when one of his first drawing appeared in Aquarela gallery, that he became more interested in the practice and wanted to become an artist. After his two years at the École des Beaux Arts de Martinique, Lovelace managed to put more techniques into his work. He went through different stages and different styles, as most artists do, exploring different medium such as newspapers or candle wax. In 1993, Lovelace started to cut up his painting, which was the culmination point of his style today. Working with no easel he likes to apply gestural and impulsive brush strokes on his painting. He was actually compared to Matisse and Gauguin by the French journal, Le Figaro. The breaking off panels gives different dimensions and stories to the painting but also an entirely new rhythm.
Aside his artist's career Che Lovelace also collaborated with Peter Doig in 2003 to found an alternative cinema space called StudioFilmClub in Port of Spain where free screening were happening in an old tum factory. Peter Doig created posters for the weekly events where viewers would meet and rink while watching movies for free on a big screen.
He is also a professional surfer and was the president of Trinidad's Surfing Association in 2012.
All images belong to the artist