Hmm…Caribbean Art – An Eclectic Mix Of Things

A Caribbean Artist renders the Caribbean? Stuart Hahn – Ritual ( colour pencil 1993 See more

What is Caribbean Art? What indeed? There is one book, “Caribbean Art” (Veeerle Poupeye) that attempted to do this a few years ago. The book was royally panned by many artists I spoke with from Barbados to Jamaica. I found the criticism harsh actually, because to me it was a start at least, to put some contemporary art in the Caribbean into a context.Is it work that has historical content that relates to the Caribbean region? Is it art that includes images of things found only in the Caribbean? Is it the work of a Caribbean artist, whether the person uses Abstraction or some other non representational form or technique? To answer that question it may do well to look at it from another perspective.


Jackie Hinkson Site specific at the atrium of the former Queen’s Park Hotel, Port of Spain 2006. Depicting six different aspects of Trinidad, ” Where We Going From”

For example what is American Art? Or Canadian or British Art? It certainly is not an artist using that countries flag or food as a reference. (Not that it can’t be) It is the artists themselves putting out work from that particular place, works of strength and so very notable to the world that that region becomes known. As has happened with Japanese artists over the last few years with their Super Flat works based on Manga and other Japanese animation and comics.


Joscelyn Gardnert at CCA7, Trinidad – Barbados-born, living and working in Canada (is this Caribbean Art?) See more
In the Caribbean it is a bit difficult to say that artists are doing that because we are all on our own little grains of sand trying to make livings. That is what residencies are for. An opportunity to meet other artists from the region, to work with them and to get to know who they are is very important. But it is also important for artists in the region to have something akin to an Arts Basil, or Arts Miami, where artists can put their works out for sale in an environment devoted to art from all over the Caribbean. This would be a task, because so many people are working in particular styles. It would have to be professionally handled. What is considered craft, what is considered installation…things like that.It would be good for us to do something like that.


“Tobago jig” is this Caribbean Art? (Best Village, Trinidad and Tobago)

Art has been included in CARIFESTA. A Caribbean festival. But it is relegated to a corner of it. These shows should be in Jamaica and Trinidad and travel to the rest of the Caribbean. I say Jamaica and Trinidad purely because of size, money and I believe skill of organizers and artists alike. What matters ultimately is that artists from the region really should do things together and get out of their respective islands and explore what is available elsewhere in the Caribbean. We do it with carnival after all.Adele

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