Friday, 22 March 2013

DREAMING THE LANDSCAPE: Four dynamic rising stars of Jamaican art bring vim and vitality to their works

"What you see here is the best of the best," noted Mutual Gallery curator Gilou Bauer as she introduced the 15 supertalented young artists who are participating in this year's fantastic and diverse Art Fresh exhibit, which opened Thursday evening with an intimate, well-supported ceremony at the Oxford Road-based gallery. Below, TALLAWAH interviews a quartet of these exciting and emerging art stars to hear about inspiration, technique, and what the future holds for them.

SASHAWANA BUCKLAND: Citing the likes of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Cecil Cooper among her idols, Buckland is a perceptive and fiercely talented one to watch. "I admire Cooper because he works with a lot of colours and I love colours obviously. Normally, I use colours to depict a person's personality. And I have technique called liquid painting, and that's the technique that I've used on most of the paintings that I've come up with." That includes her riveting self-portrait Missing Pieces, which she's exhibiting on this her second outing at Art Fresh. "As a child, I loved drawing and painting, and after leaving high school and Edna Manley College, I started exhibiting," explains Buckland, who also submitted the engrossing Shell Shocked and is hopeful about her future prospects. "I'm hoping to be an established Jamaican artist internationally, and to see what can come out of Jamaica eventually because we have a lot of talent here. I don't necessarily want to be famous or rich; I just want people to know that we exist, and we have our own movement going on."

MARC THOMAS: "I have a profound love for the environment, so all of my pieces are influenced by that. I look at things like the influence of nature on human structures and human activity," explains 28-year-old Thomas, posing next to his haunting piece Abandoned Mill. "I've been doing this for maybe the last six years. It is a hobby that I've decided to take a step further." Art Fresh, he further emphasizes, is a terrific platform for up-and-coming Jamaican talents to get their voices heard. "This is an excellent avenue for young artists. Specifically, I consider myself a nature photographer. I love landscapes. So the idea is to continue to take the photographs, and along the way I'll be grateful for more opportunities like this one."

STACY-ANN HYDE: Probably the veteran of the group, Hyde remains fascinated about the fertile ground for creativity that is Jamaica. "There is so much passion for art here, and for the next five to ten years I envision it becoming as big as the art scene in New York. It looks like a long stretch with the economy and everything that's going on, but there'a still a place for art in Jamaica, and I want to be a part of it," offers the bright-eyed Hyde, who has shown her paintings in the national JCDC exhibits, at the Pegasus Gallery and at the National Biennial, prior to taking a break from the scene. So how does it feel to be finally back from hiatus? "I tried to ignore art, but it won't leave me alone. So I basically just have to let it work itself out through me, and that's what I'm doing," says the Edna Manley College alum, whose eye-popping pieces Light for My Path #1 and #2 glowingly celebrate aspects of the womanly physique. "I am using art to explore the aesthetics that go with the female form, and that's why I make good use of these flower symbols, these motifs, to capture emotion and factors that are going on in my life. It's an investigation, and there are other works that will evolve from this investigation that will address the issue even more."

ESTHER CHIN: Given her penchant for utilizing almost anything she can get her hands on, Chin is never short on inspiration. "I like the whole process of making art, not just painting and using traditional things. I like to recycle what I see around. So I use bubble wrap, I use petals (see Esther Series #2, above), and I use discarded material that people would just pass by and take for granted. I want to create something beautiful out of what some people might consider garbage," explains the soft-spoken St. Mary native, who graduated from the Edna Manley College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2012 and teaches part-time. "I love to use non-traditional materials, and things that bring out my cultural identity. From I was small, I was interested in art, and I just wanted to pursue a career in the arts although it's not really feasible in Jamaica." Her intense passion for her art, she says, takes precedence over the financial reward. "I have an innate desire to create, and because of that you just have to bypass financial gain and do what you love. In five to ten years, hopefully, I'll be more renowned, probably not financially but at least my work will be."

web counter


  1. Really great to see these young artists. Especially Marc Thomas, whose work I have admired for a long while. He has a real sensitivity to our environment.

  2. Big up to my friend Stacy-Ann Hyde so proud of you girl

  3. Big you Esther Chin !!1

  4. Sashawana mi seh! Big up yuh self!