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The World of Carlisle Chang: About the collection

An exhibit which showcases the content of the Carlisle Chang collection

Photos of Chang's Art


Biography: Copies of Chang’s resumes prepared for different occasions and the awards he received. Of note is a comprehensive list of the carnival bands he designed and the murals he painted. He has the honour of being the first Caribbean artist to be awarded a medal at the prestigious Bienal de São Paulo exhibition in 1963; this bronze medal is held in the collection. Collectively these materials present a good overview of his life and are a valuable source for writing a biography on the artist.


Correspondence, 1948-2001: Provides letters he exchanged with persons such as Derek Walcott, Nobel Laureate 1992 and Beryl McBurnie, referred to as the Dame of Caribbean dance.  Other personal and business correspondences are included.


Commercial Ventures: Carlisle Chang participated in many aspects of the art industry to generate income. Some of these are:

·         CARLART and Gayap industries

·         CLICO 1997 calendar;

·         sale of specially designed cards;

·         work with leading corporations in Trinidad and Tobago inclusive of the Central Bank, Holiday Inn, Trinidad Hilton and Workers Bank;

·        work and designs for publications such as the Worker’s Bank Annual Reports;   Texaco and Shell magazines which were significant in documenting Caribbean culture of the period, and

·         operational plans as artistic director for major national and regional events such as the visit of Queen Elizabeth II  in 1969 and Carifesta V, 1992.


National Designs: In addition to documents on the work of the Trinidad and Tobago Independence committees, the collection has preliminary designs of the national flag and coat of arms.


Murals and Public Art: By 1984 Chang had done twenty five murals. It includes photographs and stencils for some of his murals; discussions with the relevant organizations on the erection of the same, and the philosophy behind the creation of pieces such as the Inherent Nobility of Man is part of the collection.


Visual material inclusive of transparencies, slides and photographs: over 1000 visual materials depicting Chang and his associates, art, exhibitions, carnival, other artists such as Sybil Atteck (dates)and Amy Leon Pang.


Costume designs: From as early as 1942, Chang became involved in theatre by producing “China Fantasy” for the Chinese Language School. Over the years, he designed costumes and stage sets both for productions in Trinidad and Tobago and overseas.  He won Cacique awards for the locally produced Lysistrata, 1991 and Turandot, 1992. There are over 350 original costume plates of his designs through the years from circa 1952 onwards and from his debut carnival band, Japan Land of the Kabuki, 1964. The Kabuki images were reproduced in the Shell Magazine.[2]


Art/Craft:  The painting “St. Augustine Estate” illustrates the environs of the campus circa 1920. There are also three rare Carlisle Chang dolls. In addition to Carlisle Chang’s work, the collection also holds sketches and sketch pads from Amy Leong Pang, founding member of the Trinidad Art Society.


Newspaper clippings: This set of material collected by Chang between has a number of stories on Chang and other subject matter in which he was interested. He provides annotations on several of them making these even more valuable.


Exhibition Catalogues: information on several art exhibitions through the years can be gleaned from these catalogues, particularly his own., In some cases, the prices of the items are given.


Audiovisual materials: some AV materials are included in this collection.






[1] The Inherent Nobility of Man which was on the wall of  the Immigration Hall at the Piarco International Airport was demolished to accommodate airport renovations. The other mural, Children’s Game, a wooden sculpture which was a gift to the Laventille community, was devoured by termites.


[2] “Carnival kaleidoscope.” Texaco Caribbean 7.4 (1965): 10-15. Print.

[3] Barker, J.S.“S’Fdo Gets More For Less at 252,000 – and Even Elbow Room” Trinidad Guardian 27 July 1959: p. 3. Print.