Born in St. Lucia with time spent in Guadeloupe, Ras Mosera is one of the most celebrated artists on St. Maarten/St. Martin. The self-taught expressionist painter not only depicts the island the way he sees it in works like Five Wise Virgins and Domino Players, but he also owns the bohemian Axum Jazz Café in Philipsburg. “My wife was a law student from St. Martin and the reason I came here,” he says, surveying the nooks and crannies in his café that are homey perches for his paintings. “But honestly, St. Martin has been good to me as a gateway to multiple worlds.”
About his artwork, Mosera says, “My work is an interpretation of the Caribbean irony, which is in abundance. Because of our complex historical background, I believe in the search for our whimsical self, which is the right of a people. The artist should be regarded as a healer of a people’s psyche. . . And in a region that is in need of therapy, I am aware that the arts are one of the most powerful and important therapeutic activities and, all the more so if the artist is aware of this potential.”
Working in oil, watercolor and acrylic, Mosera is the acme of the island’s artists. “I try to paint in a global way but with a Caribbean perspective.” When he’s not creating on canvas, Mosera —easily recognized by his long salt-and-pepper dreadlocks— hangs out in his café on Front Street. “I will not say I have a jazz background; maybe a jazzy mind.” His musical influences range from reggae to jazz and can be heard on The Voodoo You Do, a CD he recorded with musician La Vaune Henry.
Some of Mosera’s most recent work is currently on display at his Axum Art Cafe, Front Street 7L, in Philipsburg, St.Maarten. Forthcoming exhibitions to be announced.
See artist’s work at http://www.rasmosera.net/
Featured here, Ras Mosera’s “Golden Fish Vendor,” courtesy of the artist.