Spirits of Coora Road – Lorna Ramlochansingh

2006 Finalist

Creator: Lorna Ramlochansingh

Nominator: Linda Maxwell

Lorna Ramlochansingh designs and weaves tapestries. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago, in the West Indies, and immigrated to Toronto in the early ‘70s.

After retiring from corporate business, she moved to Nova Scotia in 1993 where she established her tapestry studio in Sambro Head. Lorna lived in Nova Scotia until the spring of 2004 when she moved to Ottawa.

Lorna did her basic training in design at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, and her technical training in Gobelins weaving methods in France. She did related workshops at the  NSCCD and the Atlantic Spinners and Handweavers’ Guild.

Lorna’s  work with colour was greatly influenced by Joyce Chown, Professor  Emeritus of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Lorna believes that  this association contributed significantly to the success of her  tapestry “Spirits of Coora Road”. Over her artistic career, Lorna has  been awarded two Canada Council for the Arts Grants for Fine Craft.

Spirits Of Coora Road is a woven mural of stories of Trinidad folklore told to Lorna as a child by her father. The idea to convert these stories to tapestries came to her when she saw her first  major tapestry at the Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam, Holland. To her, tapestry was the only medium that could express the beauty of these stories.

“Spirits” took two and one half years to complete from design to display.

“Spirits” was judged  one of the top 30 tapestries from an international field of over 200 tapestries by the American Tapestry Alliance for their Biennial 5, exhibition in the USA during 2004 –2005.

It was the subject for a short video done by CBC Halifax, and shown to regional, national and international  audiences. “Spirits” is currently in Trinidad  on show at Carifesta  2006, which is a cultural showcase for Caribbean States. It is being presented as part of the  Carifesta   Bookfair, as storytelling  in Book Art. It will be one of several contemporary tapestries to be included in a book on contemporary tapestry to be published in the USA later this year.

“Spirits of Coora Road” was designed and woven in Lorna’s studio at Sambro Head, N.S..

Jury Comments: This colourful and imaginative large tapestry shares an experience of life in Trinidad with the viewer. It’s a rare and vivid example of an art form that requires the utmost in individual commitment, tenacity and dedication.

It’s wonderful use of variously and vividly coloured materials, requires artistic vision and planning. It is full of depth and the overall effect provides the viewer a fresh, new experience.