Art and steel meet at panyard

February 12, 2014

Art and Steel Meet at the Pan Yard: Local artist helps BP Renegades pay tribute to Jit Samaroo

The BP Renegades panyard on 138 Charlotte Street is now home to one of the nation's largest wall murals. Local artist, Darren Cheewah has created the new, two story mural in the BP Renegades pan yard which, at the request of the band, includes an artistic tribute to the legendary pan arranger Jit Samaroo.

Belmont native Cheewah, no stranger to the local carnival and art scene, began the mural in 2013 at the request of bpTT, long time sponsor of the BP Renegades and their advertising agency, McCann Erickson. This year Cheewah added the 6 foot high painting of Jit Samaroo and a second story to the mural. Cheewah said, “Samaroo is a genius.... nine time winner of the National Panorama finals [with the BP Renegades], I thought it was only fitting to have him big and bold as part of the mural.” 
Like a true artist, the mural came to life during a Saturday practice session where Cheewah was able to capture the very essence of the pan man’s everyday life. He said, “I don’t just draw on the walls, I design, I paint and try to bring art to life…trying to make the ordinary extraordinary. For me wall murals should tell a story, my narrative is of the Pan Man and the way the steel pan music vibrates and how infectious it is. … [Jit’s] section of the wall starts with a treble clef and goes into a base clef as the music filters into his ear and echoes out through the yard. I was thrilled to be a part of the Renegades rejuvenation project and to give the pan yard the Cheewah Stamp”!

Danielle A. Jones-Hunte, Manager Corporate Communications  at bpTT emphasized, “BPTT has been a longtime supporter of local arts and culture.  We have proudly supported the BP Renegades for over forty years (through our legacy company) and are very proud to help make this artistic tribute to pan legend Jit Samaroo possible”. She added, “In a further tribute to the proverbial pan man, members of the BP Renegades will also perform in T-shirts with an artistic design that echoes the mural and showcases pan men and women performing their craft”.

The band is thrilled with the mural and T-shirt designs that pay tribute to the greats of their craft. According to Candice Andrews, captain of the BP Renegades ,“(We)  always wanted to pay tribute to Jit Samaroo through the mural design and given that bpTT always upgrades the pan yard before the start of the Carnival season we waited for exactly such a time for our idea to be brought to life”. She added, “Pan men and visitors all love the BP Renegades pan yard. Our pan yard is always inviting and the mural is a major attraction that draws people to the yard. This is one of the ways that we distinguish ourselves from the crowd and ensure that we remain one cut above the rest of the steelband sides and their designated pan yards”! 

Candice continued, “Even the new 2014 jersey designs are a hit inside and outside of the BP Renegades – younger members of the side especially like the t-shirts because they have a designer look and members of other steelband orchestras in the Port of Spain area have also put in requests for the Renegdes t- shirt because the versatility of the design enables them to wear it all during the year and not just strictly at Carnival time”. In line with keeping youth interested in the supporter gear, this year the band also produced strapless tops for their female supporters to stylishly wear when supporting the BP Renegades at Panorama. 

So far the mural and new look of the Renegades pan yard has been a hit with visitors. One visitor to the pan yard, a bpTT expatriate employee and first time pan crawler shared that not only were the BP Renegades the best sounding steelband orchestra that he encountered but that the pan yard itself was also the best he had seen thus far. He added, “the mural strongly resonated with me, the design and the tribute to Jit Samaroo tell the “sacred” history of the BP Renegades just like the beautiful stained windows that hold within them the sacred history of the great churches of Europe”.

The public is encouraged to visit the BP Renegades pan yard to show their support for the steelband orchestra and to view the mural in tribute to its most acclaimed pan arranger Jit Samaroo. 

Want to see Cheewah at work? Check out the time lapse video of the mural available on thebpTT Community Energy Facebook page and YouTube

Note to editors:

BPTT’s support for the national instrument has been 40+ years in the making. In 1970 bpTT’s legacy company AMOCO became the sole corporate sponsor of the famed Renegades steel pan band. The partnership between AMOCO, now bpTT, and the BP Renegades is the longest standing corporate sponsorship of a steel pan band in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. 

The BP Renegades are 9-time National Panorama champions and is the only band to have scored a wining hat-trick at the competition. The band also received the keys to the City of Port of Spain (1986), Pan Trinbago Award (1990) and the Chaconia Gold Medal (1992). 

Further information:

Danielle Jones, bpTT: +1 868 497-4747
Luis Araujo, bpTT: +1 868 793-3374