Boscoe Holder

 

Artist Biography:

Born in the 1920’s in Trinidad, Holder began painting, self-taught, at the age of five, and by his seventh birthday he was already playing the piano. Enamoured of his island’s culture, he researched and learned the local dances and songs of Trinidad, and by the late nineteen-thirties he had formed a group of dancers and was producing shows depicting the music, songs and dances of Trinidad. At the same time he gave several solo art exhibits, and became a founder and life member of the Trinidad Art Society. When American military bases were installed in Trinidad during the years of the Second World War, Boscoe Holder had his own programme, Piano Ramblings, on the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Station, WVDI. In 1947 Holder went for the first time to New York, teaching Caribbean dance at the Katherine Dunham School, and exhibiting paintings at the Eighth Street Galleries. Holder married Sheila Clarke in 1948 and the couple had a son, Christian, the following year. In 1950 they travelled to London, which became their home for the next twenty years. Holder formed his group, Boscoe Holder and his Caribbean Dancers, in London, and had his own television show in 1950, Bal Creole aired on B.B.C. The company performed before Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation in 1953: representing the West Indies. For four years, beginning in 1959, Boscoe Holder produced, choreographed, and costumed the floorshow in the Candlelight Room at the Mayfair Hotel, as well as leading his own band, The Pinkerton Boys, in the same venue. He later became co-owner of a private club, the Hay Hill, in Mayfair. As a painter in England Boscoe Holder has exhibited in many prestigious venues, and in 1981, Sir Ellis Clarke, former President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago presented Prince Charles and Lady Diana with a Holder painting as a wedding gift from the Republic. Returning to Trinidad in 1970 Boscoe Holder concentrated mainly on his paintings, although he still appeared in cabaret with his wife. In recognition of his contribution to the Arts, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago awarded Holder the Humming Bird Medal (gold) and named a street after him in 1973. In 1978 he was the recipient of Venezuela’s highest decoration, the Order of Francisco de Miranda. In 1994 he was awarded the Médaille de la Cité de Paris (bronze) by the former Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, at the 7th Salon of Painters and Sculptors from Overseas. Boscoe Holder died in 2007.

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