Tucker in the frame at Berkeley art show
Theresa Tucker could have picked any of her late husband Charles Lloyd Tucker’s paintings for the Berkeley Institute’s 120th anniversary art show.
But she wanted something that would make people think and so she settled for one of his political pieces, The Land Tax Meeting.
Ms Tucker said: “I thought I would choose something with a subject matter. I am sure they would want to question it. Anyone in any age group would question it.”
“I could have chosen the Jamaican lady or the basket of fruit. But they were just normal.”
She explained that the painting — watercolour and ink on paper — depicted one of the many discussions in the Sixties to protest unfair tax practices.
Ms Tucker said it posed the question “Are we being used?” and added: “I am sure that black people at the time asked that question.”
Steve Smith, who came up with the idea for the art show, hoped the artwork would provoke discussion and that pupils would take away the history.
Another piece by Mr Tucker, donated to the school on the 25th anniversary of his death, depicting a Bermuda home, will also be on show.
Mr Smith, a member of the Berkeley Institute’s Educational Society’s management committee, was taught art by Mr Tucker for two years at Berkeley.
He said: “I recall that he was very open and open-minded and very encouraging in your art.”
Mr Smith said the most important lesson he took away from his classes was “that you can do anything you want to do and art can be anything — it’s how you perceive it”.
He added: “His legacy lives on, especially with a lot of the students that he taught.”
Mr Tucker, recognised as Bermuda’s first professionally trained black artist, was credited with breaking down barriers in an era of discrimination.
Carol Lee Trott, who co-curated an exhibition of Mr Tucker’s work after his death, wrote in 1994: “He broke down all kinds of barriers; the ones between teacher and students, the ones between the educated and uneducated. He broke down barriers between races and barriers between social strata. He even broke down barriers between the self-confident and the insecure.”
Mr Tucker, who grew up in Hamilton Parish, graduated from Berkeley in 1933.
He travelled to England to pursue music but his studies were cut short by the outbreak of the Second World War.
He went back to England in 1948 to study graphic arts before transferring to the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting in 1949.
Mr Tucker returned to Berkeley to teach art from 1954 to 1959 and from 1963 up until his sudden death from a heart attack in 1971.
He was the school’s first art teacher and was credited with inspiring a generation of Bermudians.
Among his students were artists Otto Trott, Dame Jennifer Smith, a former premier, Chelsey Trott and Elizabeth Ann Trott.
Ms Tucker said: “He just loved people and he loved art — that was his way of expressing himself.”
She said she hoped students who viewed the artwork on display in 2018 would also be inspired to pursue their passion.
The art show, which will feature work by alumni, present students and teachers, will open at 6pm tomorrow.
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