Born to parents of Chinese descent in San Juan, Trinidad in 1921, Carlisle Fenwick Chang spent most of his life as an artist in Trinidad and Tobago. His first job was as a photographer in Trinidad and he later operated a photo studio in Jamaica. It was during his schooldays at Tranquility Government Boys’ School in Port of Spain that he first started painting. He began his art studies under the tutelage of Amy Leong Pang, founder of the Society of Trinidad Independents, a radical group that encouraged the development of an artistic style reflective of Caribbean society. In 1950 Chang received a scholarship to study mural painting and ceramics at the LCC Central School of Arts and Crafts, London. This scholarship was extended to three years and was followed by another scholarship to study ceramics for one year at the Instituto Statale D’Arts per La Ceramica, Faenza in Italy. He returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 1955 where he worked until his death in 2001. Chang created a dynamic career through his involvement in theatre, dance, advertising, photography, interior designing, painting, carnival, pottery, and other crafts. His myriad activities are reflected in the collection which spans the period 1948-2001.Carlisle Chang’s art has had great impact on the Caribbean and from the 1940’s his name made headlines in art reviews and the newspapers. These early reviews mushroomed into high acclaims throughout his life and are well documented in the newspaper clippings held in the Carlisle Chang collection at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Chang, in a brief autobiography which is also available in the collection, indicates that he pioneered the use of vinylite or plastic paints in Trinidad and Tobago, a piece of trivia which has been substantiated by the exchanges he had with several paint companies and the experiment script he created for the use of the paint. Arguably two of the most valuable gifts Chang has given to Trinidad and...
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