Between Worlds - Pat Ganase, Editor, January 2009

Over the past three or so years, Bunty O’Connor and her partner Rory at Ajoupa Pottery have put aside the production of the vast array of household items that have been their bread and butter for about 20 years: too much and too cheap production from the far east. Now, they focus on commissions: especially mosaics. So collectors must treasure what they may have acquired from Ajoupa over the years – mugs, plates, bowls, the village houses, tureens, platters, vases, pots, candle holders and all the domesticana that reflect culture and civilization and style.

We are in the time of globalization. Sometimes it feels like the apocalypse – some say end times, others say in-between times. A time when change is the only absolute – climate change; economic crisis; “after one time is two time” the old people say. We are “between worlds” says Bunty in her 2009 collection which explores themes of cultural identity, and opens doors to reveal aspects of what we might also be. The collection presents a queer grouping of contrasts with no apparent hinge point. Something to look for when you visit “Between Worlds” at the Art Society space in Federation Park, between February 4 and 14.

It is the time of the “pipe people;” this is her
commentary on how Trinis might be presenting themselves. A pantheon of cartoons that is carnivalesque, cute and facile. Look me: Rude Boy; Red Indian; Schoolgirl; Sailor Man; the Couple; Woman
in Curlers.

She reprises this theme in the Three Actors: each posed upon an individual stage in his own doorway with animal personalities and bearing artifacts of heritage.

Central to the exhibition – but only because it is the promotional piece on the invitation – is Gargoyles. Here is a beast with eleven heads that emerged from the dark nights of dengue fever. Not real, but alive and threatening. Fortunately, fevers can be cooled.

Animals feature in pieces modeled after Amerindian clay stools, the turtle with human feet and the dog with balls and chicken feet. The camel – staunch ship of the desert – carries Tea with the Arabs.

And from her least fevered imagination, Bunty draws a serene otherworldy natural environment with real people – Madamas with vines; Moonrise over Aripo. Even the place where Mikey Cipriani crashed his plane is a paradise of tall trees and towering cliffs that is as good as any final resting
place. Here we find the Child, Papa Bois, the Spear Fisherman with fishes in his hair; Ground Provisions and Coming out of her Shell.

The key to this Eden seems to be in the title piece “Between Worlds” – the urban landscape and the forest. In
the one, humans reach skyward in tower blocks. In the other, trees have ever grown skyward. Alice in Wonderland
expresses Bunty’s predicament: “Either she was too big to get into the garden. Or the door was locked.” How do we
go back to the green environment after we have left it? How does one re-enter Eden with the realization of what
was lost?

This is the magic gate that the artist seeks: the place or thing that allows one to enter wholeness, contentment, happiness, with knowledge. For the artist who is a potter -
working with the earth itself - you need your hands. You need to make pots of every shape and size. Sometimes, you get to be the “Clown Wheeling out the Devil” however
that devil expresses itself. Sometimes, you need to be a gardener – the keeper of the  Ark of Trees in your own backyard.