Natalie McGuire (Caribbean Beat) profiles seven rising talents in Barbados’s contemporary art scene. Check out the link below to read about these emerging artists—Alicia Alleyne [photographed by Mark King, above], Matthew Clarke, Versia Harris, Katherine Kennedy, Mark King, Simone Padmore, and Sheena Rose. McGuire writes:
Over the past decade, contemporary art in Barbados has sometimes seemed dormant. After a wave of talent in the 1990s — artists like Annalee Davis, Joscelyn Gardener, Ras Akyem, and Ewan Atkinson — the focus seemed to shift to art produced or exhibited in the Barbadian diaspora. In Barbados itself, commercial galleries held court, with a regurgitation of imagery catering to the tourist market.
But a new creative groundswell is changing the game. A significant surge of young visual artists is emerging, exploring themes of contemporary Barbadian identity, and shifting the art landscape of the island. These artists are negating the commercial galleries’ monopoly on the representation of Barbadian art, creating and independently exhibiting works relevant to their existence as Bajans.
Their presence has arguably rejuvenated the art scene, and highlighted areas that need attention both financially and socially — for instance, the integration of the mainstream galleries into more critical art practice. None of the seven artists profiled here is currently exhibited in any commercial gallery on the island, though the Morningside Gallery at Barbados Community College (BCC) has supported their work. Older artists in the community have also extended support. Corrie Scott, who produces an online monthly arts magazine, includes both emerging and established artists, expanding the reach of the idea that contemporary art is viable in Barbados, not just abroad. [. . .]