On Combining Batik Art and Novel Writing

Publication year

Here are the opening paragraphs:

At present I am working as a batik artist and fabric designer. I am also awaiting the publication by Heinemann Books of England of my first novel, Ti Marie. The novel is not incidental to my work in batik, so I will talk briefly about it before exploring why I have come to be doing batik.

My artistic purpose in both writing and doing batik is a deliberate attempt to ennoble my country and its people, to promote racial tolerance, not so much by condemning racism as by promoting positive images of West Indians, and to challenge the corrosion of our psyche and culture caused by the foreign mass media, not so much by condemning it as by creating a greater self-appreciation. My method is to start with what appeals to the people, with what people can relate to, what is the least alienating to them or what is alluring in popular culture.

In the novel, I have used themes that, though generally unpopular with West Indian writers of fiction, are very popular with West Indians who read for entertainment or for escape. I chose to write a historical romance. This is a very familiar genre to us. Ironically, though, we are not familiar with seeing ourselves portrayed there, especially not with dignity and commanding respect. By using the familiar in an unfamiliar way, I have tried to heighten reality and to give us a sense of a living history in which we participated. (317)