Barbados Honors Artist Ras Akyem I Ramsay

The Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts 2010 was given to outstanding artist Ras Akyem I Ramsay for his significant contributions to artistic development in Barbados.

“With the support of the Nation Publishing Company, the Central Bank of Barbados, and other generous sponsors, the award is held every other year and the accompanying retrospective of the artists’ works are eagerly anticipated by art enthusiasts,” the committee added.

The artist has had a prolific career as an artist spanning over three decades. From his childhood, Ras Akyem knew he wanted to be an artist and he has achieved his goal with vigor and perseverance. His work has been described as “brilliant,” “revolutionary,” “militant,” and “authentic.” He considers art as the essence of his being and he chose to pursue his art full-time, determined to gain the respect he felt artists deserved.

 According to Barbados’ Nation News, Akyem first came to the public’s attention when his powerful large painting “House of King David” won the Art Collection Foundation’s Purchase Award in 1984. The following year his “Mother Earth” won the Caribbean Benson & Hedges World of Art Competition.

Some of his most controversial and memorable pieces have been shown in exhibitions such as the “Vexx” exhibition at Queen’s Park Gallery, “Havana–Antes y Despues” at the Kirby Gallery, and “Dark Angel” at Zemicon.

Influenced by Rastafarian thought, Akyem has used his art “as a tool to make social statements or to highlight social ills.” His talent has been lauded locally, regionally and internationally, and his pieces are avidly acquired by private collectors and national collections. 

Over 30 of Akyem’s major paintings are now on view until October 23, 2010, at the Grand Salle of the Central Bank in Barbados.

For full article, see

See Ras Aykem’s “Black Bird” from

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