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The woman as mother, father, lover, career woman, shaper of lives and communities has long been the focus of artist and playwright Ali Sandiford. He has been able to capture the essence of woman in an art exhibition which ends at the Barbados Museum on May 21. Aptly, he calls the exhibition Portrait of a Head Tie, and explains it was inspired by an anthology of poems which he wrote over a number of years in recognition of women’s contribution to the development of Caribbean life. Sandiford has mounted the work of seven artists, some little known, others well known, all talented according to Peggy Mc Geary, to portray The Struggle and The Triumph, of women, the names of the two sections into which the exhibition is divided. “Caribean woman is strong, strong, woman”, says Sandiford. Her strength is portrayed in Coral Bernadine’s Roots, with mother and child sitting at the foot of a tree, encircled by its strong roots. Hartley Alleyne captures the triumph in her Birth of a Nation, while the eyes of the woman in Adrii’s Wisdom speak that word definitely. “I am deeply honoured to celebrate our mothers, sisters, daughters . . . Caribbean women”, Adrii wrote. Another artist Oshun said participating in the exhibition was an experience that allowed her to express respect for “the women I have known who have shaped my life”. “When I was invited to participate in Portratits of a Head-Tie I felt very excited because the theme led me into an avenue that I never thought of exploring. “I had to take a good look at our history and translate parts of it into the visual expression in celebrating the struggle and triumphs of the Caribbean woman who has contributed so much to our being” wrote artist Richard Alleyne. Ras Akem, regarded as one of the region’s finest artists in the Caribbean, said his immediate response to the invitation to participate in the exhibition “buoyed somewhere between mild pinioned the notion that my ouvre is rife with misogynistic inferences which some females find offensive. “However I feel duly relieved and vindicated to discover that this subjective position postured by a handful of art writers does not in any way represent a ‘majority’ consensus of views. “It is a pleasure to be part of this noble gesture” Ras Akyem wrote. Sandiford takes his Portraits of a Head-Tie a step further with his stage production bearing the same name, which premieres at the Barbados Museum tomorrow.