News Releases

Statement from The UWI St Augustine Campus on the mural created by artist Donald Jackie Hinkson

For Release Upon Receipt - March 1, 2019

St. Augustine

On February 4 of this year, artist and The UWI honorary graduate, Donald “Jackie” Hinkson, working in partnership with our The Alma Jordan Library (AJL) and the Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA) of the Faculty of Humanities and Education, installed his mural “Masquerade” at the St Augustine Campus. It was an act of great generosity and civic-mindedness on the part of Mr Hinkson, who is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most renowned and beloved artists.

The over 110-foot mural, placed along the southern wall of the AJL overlooking the campus Quadrangle, added a new vibrancy to the space and attracted the interest of students, staff and visitors alike in its thought-provoking depiction of Carnival. That same week, Mr Hinkson also donated over 60 sketchpads worth of his drawings to the AJL and spoke at a discussion with art students and academics. This is a continuation of a long and very positive relationship between Mr Hinkson and The UWI St Augustine.

However, on February 26, we received reports that the mural had been vandalised. These reports have been confirmed.

Speaking on the incident, Campus Principal Professor Brian Copeland said:

“On behalf of the entire campus community I would like to state our genuine sorrow over this occurrence. The defacing of art is a truly senseless and ugly act. It hurts the creator. It hurts the audience. It hurts the society. It is especially troubling to see the work of an artist such as Jackie Hinkson, which reflects his deep love and compassion for his country and people, attacked. “Masquerade” was a gift – not solely or even primarily to the University – but to our national community. We at UWI St Augustine are grateful for the opportunity to host this powerful creative piece.”

Currently, the St Augustine Campus Security Services is investigating the incident. We are taking this matter very seriously. We have implemented dedicated overnight security for the mural until its removal on March 9.

However, this incident will in no way deter the University from showcasing work of great creative and cultural merit. The AJL has reaffirmed its commitment to “continue to provide the campus and its visitors with culturally enriching experiences” such as the hosting of Mr Hinkson’s mural.

In addition, Mr Hinkson has expressed his desire that the mural remain in place until its scheduled removal after the completion of the Carnival season:

“In early discussions with the University the topic of risk came up and I said I was willing to take the risk. The work is to be seen. What’s the point of doing it if it is not seen? I continue to have that priority. This incident does not shock me. It disappoints me but it does not shock me. Incidents such as this will not deter me from showing the work.”

Mr Hinkson said it was his dream to showcase the work on campus because he wanted a space big enough to install it in its entirety. The campus provided the opportunity for it to be displayed for the first time in this way. He said that on balance he was happier with the positive feedback he received about the mural than he was disappointed in the act of vandalism and hoped The UWI would continue and even expand its role as a host of Caribbean creative works.

In his statement on the incident, Professor Copeland said he wished to focus on the positive:

“I would like to express our deep regret to Mr Hinkson for what has happened; and more importantly, our gratitude. In the face of this senseless act, if one positive can be salvaged, it is that it gives us the opportunity to openly and publicly state to the nation that we are grateful for your generosity, and for your confidence in this institution to provide a home for your work. We are delighted to do so, and look forward to continuing our relationship.”