Lest You Forget This Son of the Soil

By Kelvin Daniel

PEOPLE all over the world have portrayed great feats and made astounding contributions on a global scale. St.Lucia is blessed to have had some of its own people sailing on the flotilla of geniuses. During the season of independence celebrations which came to conclusion last month, we sought to recognize and accolade outstanding St. Lucians who have achieved locally or near and far beyond home soil. In this article I single out an art wizard who is somewhat low-key, nonetheless has indelibly pioneered an art form. The person whom I describe is Cedric George, the inventor of the ‘Organometrix’. This genius resides at the summit of a hill in Cedars and in order for me to have conducted this interview I had to climb an endless flight of stairs that seemed like the stairway to heaven, before finally arriving at his homemade art studio where the interview was completed.

For those of you who may not know and be wondering what exactly is the Organometrix and I know ‘Organometirx’ sounds like some sort of heft engineered contraption. The Organometrix in layman’s terms are three dimensional line paintings. That’s right, an entire painting neatly constructed from multitudes of lines; each painting mutely telling its own story.

Mr. George explained that he birthed the concept in his mind while still at College in Jamaica. The idea came to his mind while trying to figure out what novelty he could bring to the world of visual art. Upon meditating he realized that all other forms of paintings had already been invented, including ‘point painting’ or ‘Pointillism’, however, three dimensional line paintings were not yet on the table. At the point he birthed the concept and it has gone down in the books since 1987.

To further unravel the concept, Organometrix is not just used to describe any kind of line paintings. Organometrix comes from two words, ’Organic’ and ‘Geometric’ thus giving you ‘Organometrix’, a ‘X’ instead of a ‘C’ to give the moniker more colour. Organic means living matter and Geometric refers to lines, thus you have deduced that the Organometrix is living matter painted entirely by combinations of lines.

So yes, this St.Lucian is the inventor of three dimensional line paintings or formally termed ‘Organometrix’. I agree that one may be incredulous that there is a St.Lucian who became the first in the world, ever, to invent this but this is fact and it has gone down in the books. Now, a biography on Mr. Cedric George.

Mr.George hails from Rose Hill Castries and is the fourth of eight children, one of which has passed on. His father is from St.Kitts and his mother, a local from Choiseul. His mother worked as a cook at the Victoria Hospital until retirement. Cedric’s father was a commercial painter; recall the old cliché ‘’a chip off the old block’’. Cedric was an Anglican but nonetheless began his education at the Methodist Primary School. He went right through to standard six for his elementary education before completing at age 15. After this he went to work at the Voice Publishing where he spent a year and a half before going to work at the government printing office, where he spent thirteen years.

Cedric confessed his lack of interest in pursuing a secondary school education during his younger days. His lack of interest came from his perception that pursuing a secondary school education would have inhibited him from pursuing a technical career; he already knew emphatically that he wanted to become an artiste because his raw talent was evident from an early age. Because of this mindset, Cedric eluded sitting the common entrance examination, since he so dreaded that going to secondary school would obstruct the career path that he desired, notwithstanding he was an intelligent student. Just for the mention, he was the youngest to enter primary school in his time and always scored among the top three in his class. He confessed he later recognized that he had made a mistake as he needed GCE prerequisites for admission into University to kick start his dream. Mr. George did not let this offset him and made provisions to further his education. He started attending the University of The West Indies Guild of Graduates classes at the Ave Maria Primary School. Later, he applied for a government scholarship and was awarded a scholarship from the UNESCO scholarship fund, for three funded years at the Jamaican School of Art (Edna Manley School of Visual Art) to study Fine Art. In 1985 prior to commencing his degree in September, He wedded his significant other Mathilda George Nee Gustave in June,a retired school teacher whom he resides with at Sunbuilt, Cedars.

He received honours and distinction for the certificate and diploma course and returned to St.Lucia after the three years. Upon returning he was appointed the Art Officer for all the schools on island. Cedric served five years in this capacity before being seconded to the Ministry of Culture. After serving for three years at the Ministry of Culture he was seconded yet again to the Ministry of Community Development. He was seconded, yet again, finally to the Cultural Development Foundation, where he served until retirement. A part-time lecturing job in Art was also held by Mr.George in 2003 to 2004 at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

Also during his professional career, Cedric was featured at many summer Art Workshops and has conducted and mounted his own solo exhibitions locally, regionally and internationally. Various exhibitions have been mounted by Cedric in America, Santo Domingo, England between 1996 and 2003. He hosted local exhibitions in 1984, 2002, 2005 and finally in 2008. His involvement in group exhibitions included Carifesta, Independence and other local group exhibitions. His first show was in 1975 in collaboration with the Business and Professional Women’s Club. Cedric was also a founding member of the national archives authority. Oblivious to many, works from Cedric’s oeuvre are in many pertinent popular places locally, regionally and internationally in Jamaica, St.Kitts, Santo Domingo, Trinidad, England, Germany, The Republic of China on Taiwan and of course on home soil. Some of his paintings can be observed in The Bank of England Museum, The Bank of St.Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. Okay, you may already be impressed but allow me to report more. At a competition in Santo Domingo called ‘’The Urban Life in the Caribbean Region’’, Cedric was awarded first prize with a painting he coined ‘’The Arrow and The Shadow’’. In 1996 he was also the only person from the Caribbean to secure a spot in the final round at the ‘Dream Studio Competition’ hosted in the USA. Work from George’s oeuvre has been featured in many publications locally, regionally and internationally.

Cedric noted that he inherited his talent from his father who was a commercial artiste. His father designed posters, advertisements and all sorts of graphics by hand back in the days before technology. Cedric also noted that the difference between the block and the chip was that his father was a commercial artiste whose work was based on whatever he was hired to do while Cedric is a Fine Art painter who paints freely what he wants, what he feels, albeit he has always been commissioned for private paintings.

The inventor, designer, artist still maintains an active post retirement life and is emphatic about sustaining an active mind reading, painting, teaching and writing. These days he finds himself more under the title of ‘writer’, a skill that he has always had and still endures. His literature has been published in articles, newspapers, magazines and other publications. Paintings of Sir Derek Walcott and the former Governor General Dame PearletteLouisy are works of Cedric that still remain popular. Paintings from his oeuvre still remain in public and private collections in many countries.

Cedric George has indelibly pioneered an art form and long after he rests the Organometrix will still live.

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