The Art Gallery of Hamilton is Trini to the Bone

By Stephen Weir

Roger Ferreira. Mayaro,

Between being born in Winnipeg and now living in Hamilton, artist Roger Ferreira, had a long stop in Trinidad where he went to school and learned how to paint. He and his artist son Kareem are now being featured at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and some of Roger’s water colours are best described in David Rudder terms – these Caribbean themed canvases are “Trini to the Bone”.

Their exhibition, Gatherings: Roger Ferreira and Kareem-Anthony Ferreira, opened last week and will hang in the downtown public gallery until January 8th, 2023. 

This major exhibition by Hamilton-based father and son artists Roger Ferreira and Kareem-Anthony Ferreira features over 30 paintings spanning Roger’s 35-year career and highlights the accomplishments of Kareem’s emerging practice. 

Roger and his family left Trinidad and Tobago and moved to Hamilton in the late 1980s. He quickly established himself in the arts community, taking on public mural projects, and working with children and youth to share his skills and artistic vision. He founded a downtown artist co-op and regularly worked with other artists to support exhibition practices in Hamilton. Having taught in the city for over 15 years, he has also built a substantive career as an art teacher in the Hammer.  

This important exhibition serves as a retrospective for Ferreira senior. Not all the works are Trini-themed. The collection spans the major developments and themes in his approach to painting over the years, including his focus on family and Black culture, the landscapes of Canada and Trinidad, activism, and spirituality. 

Kareem was born in 1989 in Hamilton and studied fine arts at McMaster University before completing his studies in the US. In his impressive large-scale oil paintings, he revisits family trips to Trinidad. Working from old photos often taken during these family gatherings. Kareem builds richly textured images that reflect his experience of feeling rooted in two homelands: Hamilton and Trinidad. 

Grandma’s hand

Now represented by leading international galleries in Los Angeles, New York, Brussels, and Toronto, and with a prestigious and growing list of private collectors, this is a much-anticipated large-scale exhibition of Kareem’s recent work.

The two artists came up with the title Gatherings to reflect on how they are both supported and inspired by their communities and families. Were it not for people coming together, this exhibition, and indeed their practices, would not be possible.

The Hamilton Art Gallery is located at 123 King Street. It is currently open Thursday to Sundays. Admission is free on Thursdays and the gallery stays open until 8pm that day to accommodate visitors.