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blink | bmobile Launches Art Mentorship Programme with Leroy Clarke

One-on-one with the icon himself
Recent studies have shown that a key component in achieving success is having a mentor. For the top ten finalists of the blink | bmobile Foundation Art Competition, this mentor comes in the form of none other than internationally renowned, master artist, Leroy Clarke. 
 
For five weeks, thanks to the blink | bmobile Foundation, 10 aspiring artists, including Jahmel John, the overall winner of the competition, Nandaa Maharajh who placed second and Rajesh Harinarine, the third place winner, will have the opportunity to learn from Leroy Clarke in an immersive setting at Clarke’s famed “De Legacy House” in St Anns. In addition 
to the top three winners, the Mentorship Programme has also been extended to the next seven leading participants. The opportunity will take the budding artists on a journey to discover what Art is all about, while getting hands on lessons from Clarke himself, and during the process attempting to complete their own individual works of art. 
 
They should not however expect to complete anything in just five weeks according to Clarke, and judging from the opening day, the workshop will prove to be about a lot more than just painting. It will be an opportunity to learn about the life of an artist, their pain and sacrifices and what it really means to call oneself an artist. 
 
Given the unfortunate preconceptions surrounding the arts, particularly those related to the financial worth of the career of an artist, the blink | bmobile Foundation sees supporting the Mentorship Programme as necessary for debunking the stereotype that art cannot be a viable career path. In opening the workshop, blink | bmobile Executive Vice-President of Marketing, Natasha Davis emphasized the idea that one can become successful as an artist. She made mention of many successful local and international artists, including Clarke, Shawn Peters and English artist, Chris Ofili who made their names using unique techniques to bring their art to life. 
 
Natasha Davis – EVP Marketing, blink | bmobile, congratulates and welcomes the mentees
 
“You have to envision a future that is very different to the one you see today,” said Davis. “Shawn Peters, has a technique that uses wood in a way that was never seen. Leroy Clarke’s work, his technique was never seen before. Chris Ofili used Elephant dung in his paintings. Whatever your love is, there is an evolution for it, embrace it.” 
 
She further encouraged them to explore the digital world and how it could be integrated into their work. “I encourage you to embrace digital and how digital can be integrated into your particular work. Open your minds and envision, 5 years, 10 years down the road as you enter on this journey moving forward. For the next few weeks I encourage you to enjoy this experience.” 
 
Clarke kicked off the workshop in his usual style, blending the teaching of art with larger life lessons. “When I meet a group like you I am trying to inspire you to recognize the gifts that you have,” he began, “I cannot do anything about the gifts you have but probably to draw your attention to the fact that you have gifts. What are you doing with those gifts?” 
 
He urged them to realize that becoming an artist is a lifelong journey that will come with many challenges, but should never be abandoned if it is one’s true calling. “Those of you here who believe that when you leave you will be an artist, that is not how it works. I have only just begun to say I am an artist or a poet or a man for that matter,” he shared. “Art is about character. It’s a kind of sweet pain, it’s a curse, it’s an eternal curse and you feel it deep in you and you alone can feel it. Other people pass and they cannot see it.” 
 
Art, Clarke explained, extends beyond just mere painting and everything one does, is in fact art. 
 
Commenting on the opening day, Nandaa Maharajh’s mother, Anjanie Maharajh described the workshop as a phenomenal experience, explaining that from what she has already seen, the workshop will not only help her daughter with her art, but with her life as well. 
 
“This is an invaluable experience. I cannot put into words the value that this will have on her (Nandaa). His (Clarke) passion for art will definitely help her to get to where she is going,” said Maharajh. 
 
The workshop continues every Saturday at “De Legacy House”, where inspiration can be found on every wall. 
 
Concentrating on his technique