Boscoe Holder (1921-2007)

The 20’s

• 1921
Boscoe is Born
Born Arthur Aldwyn Holder to Arthur Holder (Barbados) and Louise de Frense (Martinique) he is their first child of 5.

• 1926
Painting from five
Boscoe’s affinity for drawing and painting and later piano playing is recognised at an early age and is encouraged by both parents.

• 1928
School Years
 Tranquillity Intermediate School.
 Queens Royal College

The 40’s

• 1941-1945
The War Years
 Formed dance group and held productions surrounding traditional dances, songs, and music of Trinidad.
 Programme called Piano Ramblings aired during world war two on the US Armed Forces Radio station WVDI every Sunday afternoon.
 Dance group performed constantly for American Military Societies during world war two.
 Commissioned by American Military Servicemen to paint portraits which would be sent to their families in America.
 A Founding and life time member of the Trinidad Art Society
(now the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago).
 Convenes his first one man show under the patronage of J. B. Fernandes; The Head of the Fernandes/ Angostura Distilling Empire in Trinidad.

• 1946
The Influence of Martinique
 Visits Martinique - Incorporates French/ Creole cultural modes, folk dances, songs and costumes into his shows after this first visit.
 Encounters Sheila Clarke – Dancer and UK born daughter of popular local radio personality of the 50’s -70’s ‘Aunty Kay’.

• 1947
The US experience
 Followed Sheila Clarke to New York.
 Taught Caribbean dance at the Katherine Dunham School, NY.
 Exhibited paintings at Eight Street Galleries upon his first visit to
New York.

• 1947/ 48
Boscoe Marries
 Returns to Trinidad with Sheila Clarke
 Marries Shelia Clarke

• 1949
Birth of Son
Christian Holder is born

The 50’s

• 1950’s
The English experience
 Moved to London with wife and son.
 Dance group (Boscoe Holder and his Caribbean Dancers) formed in London.
 Presents his own television show, Bal Creole, which aired on B.B.C television.
 Introduced first steel drum/ pan to England via his television series.
 Appeared in several theatre productions, television shows and films.
 Dance Company toured continent (Finland, Sweden, Belgium, France, Spain, former Czechoslovakia, Italy, Monte Carlo and Egypt).
 Performed with Josephine Baker.
 Produced, choreographed and costumed the floorshow in the Candlelight Room of the Mayfair Hotel.
 Formed and led his own band, The Pinkerton Boys, at the hotel.
 Co-owned a private club called the Hay Hill in Mayfair.
 Paintings exhibited at various UK Art Galleries inc:
- Trafford Gallery,
- The Redfern Gallery,
- The Commonwealth Institute,
- The Castle Museum Nottingham
- The Martell exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture at the Royal Water Colour Society Galleries
- The Leicester Gallery; Two artworks acquired for their permanent collection.

• 1953
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
Boscoe and his company are selected and perform as part of the star studded line up of entertainers of the day.

• 1955
Windsor Castle at a Command Performance
Boscoe and his company performs before Queen Elizabeth II for the second time.

The 60’s

• 1960/ 61
‘Scholarship in Reverse’/ Return to Trinidad

He is the recipient of the Scholarship in Reverse an award given to him and to V.S. Naipaul (Nobel Laureate in Literature) by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to entice both artists to return to the land of their birth. This would be a short sojourn for Boscoe, before returning to England.

• 1966
Dinning with the Queen and Prince Phillip
Boscoe and his wife Sheila are among eighteen specially invited guests,invited to dine with Her Majesty in honour of Her Majesty’s forthcoming visit to Trinidad and Tobago.

The 70’s

• 1970- 2007
Returns to Trinidad with Sheila
and focused mainly on his paintings with an unbroken record of annual exhibitions.

• 1973
The Humming Bird Medal - Gold Awarded
by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for his contributions to the Arts and also has a street named after him.

• 1978
The Order of Francisco De Miranda Award
The Government of Venezuela bestows its highest award on Boscoe Holder for his contribution to the arts in the region.

The 80’s

• 1980’s
Art Exhibitions
 Exhibitions held in Puerto Rico, Cannes, Curacao, the Bahamas, the Graduation Centre, Connecticut USA and at other spaces.
 Annual exhibitions at the Art Creators Gallery in Port-of-Spain.

• 1981
A Wedding gift to Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
One of his paintings is selected and presented by the then President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Sir Ellis Clarke, as gift to the royal couple on behalf of the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago.

• 1983
Boscoe Holder and Geoffrey Holder Day - Washington D.C
Then Mayor of Washington D.C. -Anthony Williams, declares May 22nd, 1983 in honour of the Trinidad and Tobago brother’s contribution to the arts.

• 1987
Metro Convention in Toronto Canada - 50th Anniversary
A one man exhibition is held in celebrated of his years as a professional painter

• 1988
Venezuelan Embassy in Port-of-Spain hosts Retrospective of work
A retrospective is mounted of paintings ranging from the late 1930’s to 1988 entitled ‘Beauty in the eye of B. Holder’

The 90’s

• 1990
International Voluntary Service (IVS) Award
Along with his brother Geoffrey, they are recognised by the Mayor of Washington D.C. for their contributions made to the Arts in the Caribbean.

• 1991
International Excellence in Philadelphia Award
The Award, the first of its kind is given by Drexel University, USA to
Boscoe, his son Christian and Brother Geoffrey on April 7th.

• 1990’s
Annual Art Exhibitions

 1991, Alliance Française and French Culture Mission (St. Lucia) Boscoe is invited to convene exhibition under the auspices of the Alliance Française and French Culture Mission in St. Lucia.
 Boscoe builds his art studio.
 From the late 1990’s Boscoe moves his annual exhibitions to the 101 Art Gallery in Port-of-Spain.

The 2000’s

• 2xxx
Boscoe’s Art Gallery Opens,
To welcome the millennium Boscoe builds his own gallery at 34 A Newtown, Port-of Spain.

• 2002
Interview by Andrzej Krakowski
Boscoe is interviewed for the documentary feature on his younger brother entitled, ‘Geoffrey Holder the unknown side…’

• 2003 (October 31st )
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
He is presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) by the University of the West Indies.

• 2004
TT Post –Stamp Issue
The Trinidad and Tobago Postal Services, TT Post issues a series of postage stamps featuring six of Boscoe’s Paintings.

• 2007 (April 21st)
Boscoe is dead
Boscoe Holder dies at the age of 87 at his home in Newtown, Port-of-Spain.

Boscoe was a Multitalented Artist-Painter, Dancer, Choreographer, Dance Instructor, Costume Designer, and Raconteur.

P.S. Boscoe Holder also received a National Award from the Government and People of France.