About Pat Bishop

Dr. Patricia Alison Bishop – Trinity Cross recipient, teacher, visual artist, historian, intellectual, musician, and environmentalist.

Many would say without hesitation that the qualities that define a hero - courage, nobility of character, achievement and selfless service – describe Pat as perfectly as they do any super hero.

A Visionary Artist

Pat was a person of incomparable talent. She was no ordinary ‘genius with a paintbrush’ or ‘gifted musician’ – Pat distinguished herself in the Arts at a time when very few women were doing so.

That alone makes her a model for our girls and young women who continue the fight against stereotypes and gender oppression. Of course, the importance of Pat’s work goes beyond who she was.

She encouraged artists in all walks to go back to ‘first principles’, to move away from imitation and create original works that could stand apart from the crowd. This emphasis on local creativity, originality and innovation , which pervaded her own work, is what made her a truly visionary artist

Musician & Educator

Pat is perhaps most famous for her pioneering work with the Lydians – who were sponsored by NGC from 1991 to 2014. Particularly impressive was her formation of the Lydian Steel orchestra, which was a completely literate steel ensemble.

Music literacy in the pan fraternity was Pat's passion, who served as a founding Director of the Music Literacy Trust. What she achieved with the Lydian Steel Orchestra is awe-inspiring given the orchestra’s astonishing classical repertoire, having accompanied the Lydian Singers in several classical performances.

The fact that we have a group of pannists capable of such musical achievement is nothing short of extraordinary – and it speaks volumes about the woman behind the vision.


Pat’s extensive collection of paintings are owned by national corporations and hosted in international exhibitions,
and she taught art as part of her academic career. This is her final collection She Sells Sea Shells by the Sea Shore.


In between reading for her academic studies and the written works that inspired her artwork, literature was a fundamental part of Pat’s life.

Dr. Pat Bishop with Professor Rex Nettleford


As she was an avid scholar and educator, it comes as no surprise that Pat Bishop’s literary works in academia were noteworthy.

While completing her degree in Fine Arts at the University of Durham in England, she wrote an undergraduate thesis on English Neo-Classical Sculpture in 1956. This work was complemented as her thesis at the graduate level.

While pursuing a master’s degree in West Indian History at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, she wrote a dissertation entitled ‘Runaway Slaves of Jamaica 1870-1823.

In Academia

Upon completion of her studies, Pat spent various periods of time teaching at her alma mater, Bishop’s Anstey High School. She also taught at the Jamaica School of Art and the University of the West Indies.

Although her main academic focus was history, the reading and writing aspect of the field ties into literature.

Pat Bishop was awarded an honorary degree in literature from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine in 1994, as recognition of her contribution to the local arts and culture.


From being a fundamental part of her childhood to being a full-fledged master of the musical arts,
Pat’s contributions to the local music industry were immeasurable.

Pat Bishop and the Lydians Singers performing Hiawatha

Exposure to Music at an Early Age

Pat’s exposure to the world of music began when her father taught her to read and write music as an infant, after which she began receiving piano lessons from Millicent Roberts when she was five years old.

Music continued to be a part of her life as a teenager, where she joined her secondary school’s choir and often played the piano during morning assembly.

Although she pursued a degree in Fine Arts at the tertiary level, Pat’s musical education continued during her university years in England as she privately studied voice, piano, orchestra and History of Music.

Pat on the National Stage

Upon completion of her studies and returning to Trinidad, Pat became involved in the local music scene. She made history as being the first person to sing while being accompanied by a steelband.

Steelbands managed by Pat performed exceptionally at the Panorama Championships and Steelband Festivals, with Pat also providing noteworthy commentary on these events over the years.

Pat's tours with Desperados were legendary, with two famous concerts in Carnegie Hall, seasons at the Apollo Theatre, and a steelband performance conducted at the New York Pops Theatre.