Mark Pereria, a much-admired art dealer and curator from Trinidad and Tobago, was killed on December 19, just hours before his 67th birthday, local news outlets reported Tuesday.
Pereria was reportedly alone in his bed reading a book when he was fatally shot by burglars at his vacation home in Blanchissuese, an idyllic beach town in northern Trinidad.
Pereira, who owned 101 Gallery in the Newtown district of Port of Spain, was mourned by the island’s art community on social media, reports said.
“[The] the entire Visual Art Community mourns his passing. We will miss his presence, which was always accompanied by a sophisticated flair. Mark was always generous with his wisdom which contributed significantly to the promotion and development of visual art in Trinidad and Tobago. Thank you for your service Mark,” The Art Society of Trinidad & Tobago posted to its Facebook page.
Pereira was born in 1955 in Trinidad, according to Global Voices, and after dabbling in sales, hospitality, and other fields, discovered his passion for Caribbean art in 1980. In the years that followed, Pereira championed local and long-forgotten Caribbean artists from both the modern and colonial era.
According to the United Nations, the number of intentional homicides in Trinidad and Tobago per 100,000 people has risen from 29.7 in 2014 to 38.5 in 2019. According to a November report by The Trinidad Express, there were 523 murders in the country as of that month, only 14% of which resulted in charges. According to the website World Population Review, the country ranks 12th globally for the highest number of murders per capita, just after the Bahamas and before Mexico. The local publication Newsday said that the police are investigating the murder.