Jim Armstrong hails from Tobago and began painting at about age 12, influenced by members of the Tobago Art Group which was then headed by his long time friend and fellow artist, Edward Hernandez. He held his first one-man exhibition in Tobago in 1965, before leaving Trinidad and Tobago to further his education in Canada and the USA.
A selection from that first exhibition – “Making Copra” – was included in the Trinidad and Tobago contingent’s art exhibition at Expo ‘67 in Montreal, Canada. “Making Copra,” and several of his other paintings, are now part of the permanent collection of the Trinidad and Tobago National Museum and Art Gallery. Jim has exhibited internationally in the Caribbean, Brazil, Canada, the USA and various countries in Africa, where he lived and worked for many years.
Upon his return to Trinidad and Tobago in 2000, Jim recommitted a large part of his time to his art and his newer works have been included in the various Independence Exhibitions, as well as represented in the Trinidad and Tobago contingent art exhibitions at Carifesta in St. Kitts/Nevis, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. He has exhibited regularly with the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago and his paintings are to be found in private collections locally and abroad. Various of his works are also in the People’s Canvas Exhibition on the walls of the Queen’s Park Oval and at the Hyatt Hotel Outdoor Gallery.
This is his fifth one-man exhibition since his return to Trinidad and Tobago. In 2002 he mounted an exhibition as part of the Tobago Heritage Festival, highlighting aspects of the cultural heritage of Tobago which has been reflected many times in his themes.
His 2003 exhibition – Tobago to Africa and Back – was a collection representing 40 years of his work, spanning his teenage years up to more recent experiences. That exhibition was strongly influenced by his extensive travel throughout Africa where he visited nearly all the countries on that continent, and his work portrays his search for understanding of its vast offerings.
His “Eclectic Cultural Influences” exhibition of 2005 displayed cultural influences from Africa and Asia as mirrored in the local environment. His last exhibition – “Moods of a Mosaic Culture” – held at the 101 Gallery in Federation Park in 2008 - revealed a continued sensitivity to the cultural diversity to which this artist has been exposed, a diversity which fascinates him and is anchored by his native Tobago and his wanderings on the continents.
"The Art of Dance,” a theme which allows him to continue his fascination with colour and movement. As noted artist M. P. Alladin once quipped, in critiquing an exhibition, Jim’s works could always be recognized by its “vibrancy of colour.” Jim believes that his experiments in tones, texture and movement have given expression to a variety of moods and styles that is his unique signature as an artist.
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