Monday, October 15, 2012

What Things Are True by Jackie Hinkson

A Memoir of Becoming an Artist

What things are true? This is what Jackie Hinkson has been asking himself since his early introduction into art and, more so, since completing his studies at the University of Alberta whose motto is “Quaecumque Vera” (Whatsoever Things Are True). In 2012, the year of his 70th birthday, he is still searching for the answer in his work.
In this memoir, Hinkson tells of the experiences that helped to shape his vision as an artist; his early family and community life in “Cobo Town” in the heart of Port-of-Spain; his  introduction to painting while a student at QRC and his crucial friendship with Peter Minshall there; the influence of the Central Library and the Art Society on his early formation; his doubts and his single-mindedness while furthering his studies in Paris and Canada; his marriage and the birth of his first child; his return to Trinidad in 1970 where he immediately faced challenges as an artist in a rapidly changing society, and his critical decision to live the rest of his life as an artist working in and inspired by his native land.

Donald ‘Jackie’ Hinkson was born on the 13th of September 1942, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Hinkson began painting in his teens and for over fifty years has remained uncompromising in the pursuit of his calling and prolific in his output.

After studying in Paris and Canada, and by then married, he resolved to live and work in Trinidad and Tobago. At first he  focused on plein-air watercolour and drawing, travelling and exhibiting throughout the Caribbean. In 1982 the Government of Trinidad and Tobago commissioned him to produce 100 drawings and watercolours of the country’s disappearing architecture.
From the 1990s, without abandoning watercolour, Hinkson resumed working in oils and also began producing figurative wood sculptures.
Perhaps Hinkson’s most recognised body of work is his series of very large oils in which he has depicted events from the life of Christ in a contemporary Trinidadian context. This series has been documented in a book, a DVD and a portfolio of prints entitled “And So We Continue”. His other book, “Drawing for Days”, covers forty years of his drawings.
Hinkson has also produced a number of murals and large charcoals that reflect a growing sense of social observation.
In 2010, Hinkson’s numerous sketch pads were inscribed in UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” registry and in 2011, an Honourary Doctorate was conferred on him by the University of the West Indies.
Hinkson and his wife Caryl have three children and nine grandchildren. They live in Trinidad and Tobago, where he continues to work.

ISBN 978-976-8054-96-8
316 pages
hardcover with dustjacket
illustrated in black & white by the artist

Click here to purchase the book on and

Click here to read the book review by Bridget Brereton in the Trinidad Express.

Click here to read the book review by Leanne Haynes in Arc Magazine (12 April 2013)