Sybil Atteck (1911-1975)

Sybil Atteck, A Great Painter

Atteck has been recognized as a Great Painter in the new publication by Phaidon Press.

Sybil Atteck, A Great Painter

Sybil Atteck has been included in Phaidon Press's latest publication in 2022 as one of the 300+ Great Women Painters, from 60+ countries, spanning 5 centuries. She is the only representative from Trinidad and Tobago and one of three Caribbean artists, the other two from Dominican Republic and Cuba, to be included in this epic collection.

Born to a Chinese family who nurtured her passion for drawing and painting, Atteck was a pioneering figure in the art history of Trinidad and Tobago, celebrated for her dynamic depictions of the islands and their people. Atteck first worked as a botanical illustrator for the Ministry of Agriculture before studying internationally in London, Lima and St. Louis, USA. In the 1950s she stoked national pride with paintings such as Flag Wavers, which captures the exuberant carnival celebrations in Port of Spain, showing sailor figures — one waving a flag — dancing energetically against a variegated background of overlapping geometric shapes. Atteck's landscapes and scenes of everyday life represent an anthropological commentary on the environment, people and culture of Trinidad and Tobago. The lively, expressionistic style she developed was foundational to the country's first recognizable school of painting, which emerged as it edged towards independence in 1962. As the first contemporary woman painter from Trinidad to find international acclaim, Atteck was appointed to the government committee that designed the country's new national flag and the symbols for its coat of arms. 

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