born 3 February 1911
Sybil Atteck was born in Rio Claro, Trinidad on February 3rd, 1911. When she was in her early teens, the Atteck family moved to Port of Spain where, encouraged by their grandmother, they became involved in many of the art forms: music, crochet, embroidery, flower arranging and designing Carnival costumes. The family members even formed a small orchestra, with Sybil playing the Hawaiian guitar. Sybil and her six sisters were also encouraged to be intellectually independent.
Atteck joined the Botanical Department of the Ministry of Agriculture in 1928, using her drawing skills to produce botanical renderings. Some of these were shown at an exhibition organized by the Society of Trinidad Independents in 1930. In 1934, Atteck went to London where she studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic. Returning to Trinidad, she resumed her work at the Department of Agriculture.
In 1948 she continued her studies in Lima, Peru, at the Escuela de Belles Artes. Her primary interest there was in Inca pottery, a form of expression that she could relate to the Caribbean's pre-Columbian art. In 1943 Atteck attended the School of Fine Arts, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri, where she was a student of the German Expressionist painter, Max Beckmann. Beckmann was to have a profound effect on Atteck's work and, in turn, a controversial impact on the Public Library in Port of Spain and at the Town Hall in San Fernando. Her work was strongly criticized as being un-Trinidadian. Despite this, Atteck's images and style form the nucleus of Trinidad's first recognizable school which prevailed throughout the 1950's and '60's. Those influenced by the Atteck genre were, among others, Carlyle Chang, Willi Chen, Leo Glasgow and Nina Squires. Through her expressionist images, Atteck celebrated the birth of a new nation and the hopes and aspiration of Independence, portraying Trinidad's landscape, birds, dances and festivals as the new symbols of national identity.
1948 Escuela de Belles Artes, Lima, Peru
Read An Appreciation- by Carlyle Chang- click here
Sybil Atteck's ceramic Stations of the Cross at St Theresa's RC Church in Malick- click here