Speyside student, 15, wants to show collection: ‘I eat, dream art’


Former student Israel Melville shows two of her paintings on the steps to Speyside High School on Wednesday.  - Photo by David Reid
Former student Israel Melville shows two of her paintings on the steps to Speyside High School on Wednesday. – Photo by David Reid

Speyside High School student Israel Melville, 15, just needs a brush, paint and canvas to be happy.

“I eat and dream about art,” the four-year-old student told Sunday Newsday.

Last Monday, Melville, originally from Argyle but currently living in Delaford, had the honor of presenting one of her paintings to THA Education Minister Zorisha Hackett. The painting is entitled Caribbean Constellation.

Hackett visited the school on Monday along with Chief Secretary and representative of the area, Farley Augustine, as well as other education officials.

Melville said his artistic inspiration began at the age of seven. He said his cousin Casey Daniel, an art teacher at Roxborough Secondary School, had started a men’s shop near his home in Argyle, where she designed the drugs for sale.

“I was fascinated by her work, and she started designing fabric for queen contests. I was always around her, so I started drawing everything that came to mind on paper.”

Melville said he always knew art would be a part of his future, and he took that into account when writing his Secondary Admission Assessment (SEA) exam.

“I had the opportunity to promote my artistic development when I started high school. Speyside was my first choice for a high school because I knew the reputation they had in art. “

Speyside High School student Israel Melville puts the finishing touches on a piece titled Compassion at her school on Wednesday. – Photo by David Reid

Speyside High School has won six of the seven Chief Secretary Secondary Schools art competitions from 2013-2019.

Melville said his artistic side thrived in high school.

“It was a blessing for me to attend Speyside.

“Miss Avion Orr, who is my art teacher, is my favorite art personality. She always looks after me, I like her personality, and she always encourages me to try new things, and I always come first in exams in her class.”

Israel Melville from Delaford, a student from 4 from Speyside High School, with her artwork, Compassion. – Photo by David Reid

Melville said he loves abstract painting, but he’s not a big fan of competitions. Nevertheless, he participated in the Port Mall Christmas competition in 2020 with the work – Traditional Bamboo Bursting, which came second in the age category under 15 years.

Although art is his passion, Melville attends a few athletic events.

“I do a little shot put and discus for school, but my time is spent on art. I always put my vibes and dreams on paper and think about my next work of art.”

He said painting offers an incomparable source of joy and relief.

“Art is like a therapy session for me. It’s like a mental health program. It helps to relax my mind, get away from life stress and dive into my creative energies.”

Melville, who comes from a humble background, hopes to see his art collection at an exhibition in the near future.

“I have made many paintings, and part of my ambition is to show my work in an exhibition where people see and appreciate what I can, and also sell some of my creations. But the problem is, I do not have the money to buy the things I need to start. ”

Melville’s close ties to his cousin and art teacher have shaped him enormously and he wants to follow in their footsteps.

“My ambition is to be a teacher. I want to help students who have a passion for art meet their goals.

“It’s also my way of giving back to society, as an appreciation of what was given to me, and it will allow me to do what I love.”

Orr beamed when asked to describe Melville as a student. She said: “Melville is blessed, art comes naturally to him, he loves everything in art. When he has free time in school, he is always in the art room.”

She said Melville is one of the most talented art students she has ever taught.

“I have been a teacher at the school for 15 years, and I have had contact with many talented art students, but you have to constantly push them against their potential.

“With Melville it is different, there are no statics, he always comes up with ideas. He is most talented and willing. I want to pursue a scholarship opportunity for him. “

Orr said she did not think twice about helping Melville with material for his work.

Alice Frith of Argyle, Melville’s mother, told Sunday Newsday: “I’m very proud of what my son has achieved and I can see him getting better.

Art teacher Avion Orr and her student Israel Melville are holding one of his paintings, Beauty in the Eye of a Container, at Speyside High School on Wednesday. – Photo by David Reid

“I observed his potential from when I was four years old. When most kids wanted toys, he was always interested in drawing books and crayons. So I always had to walk past the bookstore to buy those things for him.”

She said she still helps when he asks for help with his art.

She said she 100 percent supports her son’s artistic expression.

Melville lives with his father Gerod Melville, who is employed as a bricklayer in the work department of the Tobago House of Assembly, and is also a part-time fisherman.

Gerod said: “Israel is my only child who goes to art. He used to do a little thing in Belle Garden Primary School, but since he went to Speyside, like his teacher, sees a potential in him and she really pushes him.

“We’ve been talking lately about going into the business aspect of it, because everyone who sees his work is surprised by the quality and tells me to encourage him.

“I have seven children to look after, so things are a little difficult, but me and his mother do what we do best to give him what he wants to continue in the arts, because I feel he could reach somewhere in it. . “

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