Adrian Camps-Campins

Flashback, 2014: Adrian Camps-Campins, left, receiving his honorary Doctor of Letters

from UWI Chancellor Nigel Harris.

ARTIST and historian Adrian Camps-Campins, whose work also made him an ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago culture, has died.

Camps-Campins, who was 76, passed away on Saturday, with tributes and expressions of sadness pouring into social media yesterday as news spread within the art and other communities.

Camps-Campins, who was bestowed an honorary doctorate by The University of the West Indies (UWI) in 2014, was a prolific producer of artwork depicting many of T&T’s significant historical events, customs and architecture.

Born in 1943 and of Spanish and French heritage, Camps-Campins initially began a career in insurance but left that in 1974 to become an artist.

Camps-Campins’ work has migrated far, with his portrayal of a late 19th-century event, “Seventh Birthday Party of Clara Rosa de Lima”, having been used by UNICEF in 1993 as part of its international fund-raising for children’s causes.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Trinidad and Tobago in 2012, he presented the government of Spain with a towering painting titled, “The Last Meeting of the Spanish Cabildo, 1797”.

The UWI noted in its biography that notable depictions by Camps-Campins include “many buildings and sites of historical significance, as well as aspects of our culture--early 20th-century vendors; a Hindu temple; the famous Lion House, ancestral home of the Naipaul brothers; and ‘The Carnival at Pembroke Street 1910’, which offers a glimpse of the early street festival in Port of Spain.

Camps-Campins has lectured on his work in Trinidad and at Oxford University in England.

One also does not have to be a visitor to art galleries to have appreciated Camps-Campins’ work.

Many of his depictions were allowed to be printed for use on greeting cards celebrating Trinidad and Tobago, which enabled the artist to raise public awareness of T&T’s history and unique architecture.

A life well lived

“Adrian, we thank you for your incredible gift and invaluable contributions you have made to the visual arts. Thank you for sharing your talent with us,” the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago stated on its Facebook page yesterday.

The loss of Camps-Campins was also mourned by The Curepe Roundabout Newsmag, which posted:

“One of Trinidad and Tobago’s foremost artists has passed on.”

The publication listed the Maraval artist as a “friend” who “recorded for posterity, a world few would know or be interested in”.

“He researched and painted the old architecture and recorded by painting scenes and moments of historical significance in Trinidad’s history,” the magazine stated, noting the main body of Camps-Campins’ work centred on 1920 Trinidad.

The publication further noted that Camps-Campins was fluent in several languages and was “a very elegant, and cultured gentleman”.

“He was a walking encyclopaedia of Trinidadiana. He did not suffer fools gladly. Having seen his island in the ‘good ole’ days’, he would have regretted anything which bespoilt it,” the publication stated on Facebook.

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