Berkeley alumni hope to inspire
The most important lesson artist Otto Trott learnt at the Berkeley Institute was that he could be anything he wanted to be.
Now Mr Trott, who will showcase his work as part of the school’s 120th anniversary celebration art show, wants his artwork to inspire students to dream big.
Mr Trott said: “I hope the students in 2018 get the same ideas that we got when I was here in the Sixties and that is that they can do anything, be anything they want to be and that there are no restrictions.”
Mr Trott, from St George’s, attended Berkeley from 1965 to 1970 at “the height of the civil rights era”.
He said: “One of the things about going to Berkeley is that my art teacher, Charles Lloyd Tucker, was one of the first recognised black artists.”
He added that his teacher’s art being featured in exhibitions made him feel like he could do the same thing.
Mr Trott, whose classmates included future Progressive Labour Party Cabinet ministers Dale Butler, Renée Webb and Terry Lister, also recalled assemblies on Friday mornings where they would hear from black trailblazers.
He said: “It made us feel like we could be anything we wanted to be.
“We were encouraged to be in business, in arts, politics, in the Civil Service. We were encouraged to excel academically and in whatever we did.”
Mr Trott followed in Mr Tucker’s footsteps and taught Art at the school from 1975 to 1983.
He went to art school aged 29 to “develop more as an artist”.
Mr Trott said: “I have exhibited all of my adult life, following the example of Mr Tucker, who took his art classes to exhibitions.”
His works have been on show at Gallery 117, the Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard and the Bermuda Society of Arts in Hamilton.
He has also had solo shows at Masterworks and his work has also featured in the Charman Prize exhibitions.
Mr Trott said it was a natural choice to take part in the 120th Anniversary Alumni and Currents Students’ Art Show that will showcase work from students, teachers and alumni.
He added: “I decided that I would show work that had Berkeleyites as the subject. The Speaker is an oil sketch of Randy Horton who was my PE teacher in 1969 and 1970.
“Mr Horton is a true renaissance man having been a professional and international athlete, a teacher, school principal, MP and former Speaker of the House.”
Another painting, Good Friday, features Mr Trott’s former science teacher, Erskine Simmons, in the part of Pontius Pilate in the Good Friday re-enactment in St George’s.
African Bermudian Dancers is a large oil painting and one of the last pieces that he showed at the Biennial at the Bermuda National Gallery.
Mr Trott said: “It shows part of the Bermudian African dance group taking part in the Bermuda Day Parade.
“One of my classmates, Kevin Johnson, is not in the painting but he was playing drums on the float.
“Ivan Broadbelt, another person who went to the Berkeley Institute when I did, is the drummer in the hat.”
Another oil painting shows the Samaritan’s Lodge in Hamilton, the original Berkeley building, and was based on a photograph by Ed Kelly in the book The Berkeley Educational Society’s Origins and Early History.
The art show will feature work by alumni including Mr Tucker, Dame Jennifer Smith, a former premier, Joan Forbes Darrell and Elizabeth Ann Trott.
The exhibition will open on April 13 and a silent auction will run until the final day of the show on April 21.
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