(Born 1938; Gonzales, Trinidad)
Leroy Clarke is one of the most prolific artists of Trinidad and Tobago. He was named ‘Master Artist’ by the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago. Known for his complex and layered grand-scale paintings, Clarkes images are rife with symbolism and social allegory. It can be said that Clarke continues in the tradition of the Cuban artist, Wifredo Lam, who once described his own work as a “Trojan horse” within western art narratives. Artists like Lam and Clarke reclaim or reinstate the Afro – Caribbean spiritual dimension into the formal experiments of early Modernist painting - Particularly that of the Cubists and the Surrealists.
For Clarke, whose first major body of work was called Fragments of a Spiritual in the early 70s, an epic personal, ethnic, and cultural narrative began to take shape. His message was one of personal and spiritual reconstruction in the aftermath of slavery, colonialism as well as post-colonial questioning and political disillusionment.
He is a painter extraordinaire whose intricate and deep pieces of art fill galleries, homes and treasured places throughout the world. Amongst the most famous; The Studio Museum of Harlem, New-York, The National Museum and Art Gallery, Royal Victoria Institute of Trinidad and The National Collection of Jamaica.
He's Trinidad's “Master artist” who people make documentaries of, who authors make books of, who Ministers turn to for advice on culture and who youths flock to for advice on living At sixty five, being called a master artist is not just about the paintings, but about the man himself.