Calibe Thompson (Island Origins) writes about collecting Caribbean art:
My first paycheck from my very first real job was spent almost entirely on a piece of burnt leather wall art I discovered at the Pegasus hotel in Jamaica. My boss asked me if I was nuts—I guess she thought such a pricey thing was an inappropriate investment for someone just out of college. I smiled at it daily for months after, and 20 years later, looking at the framed, abstract faces in my Fort Lauderdale living room still makes me feel a sense of calm and connection to my island roots.
As a child, there was an appreciation for art in my home. Iconic names like Basil Watson, Edna Manely, Kapo, Ken Abendana Spencer, and Carl Abrahams were some of the local masters I came to admire. Some were self-taught, but the ones whose work garnered national or international acclaim had elevated their approach well beyond the rudimentary landscapes and animal drawings of the local street artists. Their work had depth, visual texture, a technical appreciation of light and shade, and a consistency of style across pieces and even across different types of media.
I actually decided on a degree in architecture because I realized it was the only way to get my parents to pay for me to study tertiary level art. Ha!
Living in South Florida has allowed me a broader appreciation of art, particularly in the way the Caribbean nationals that populate the region have infused their own perspectives into the landscape, whether they hold the brush, hang the frame, or make the sale.
I was pretty proud reading Monique M’s take on the Caribbean curators prominently lending influence to multiple shows during Miami Art Week and throughout the year. They have the distinguished responsibility of exposing artists from across the island region and throughout the diaspora to some of the world’s most wealthy and discerning buyers.
Steve, from one of our favorite Caribbean travel sites—Uncommon Caribbean— shared his personal art explorations in Haiti, Puerto Rico and Martinique. Our award-winning writer, G, shared her personal connection to art as therapy, and one of my personal favorite disciplines—the art of fine fare—had a light shone upon it in Monique W’s review of the Taste the Islands Experience.
With a footprint stretching from Spain to South Florida and back to her native Trinidad, Sonya Sanchez Arias is a quiet genius, at least in my humble opinion. Sonia (our writer) colorfully describes the motivations behind the distinctive aesthetic Sanchez Arias imbues in her work that makes her art sparkle like jewelry, and even the smallest pieces of her jewelry seem like stunning individual works of art.
As you enjoy the Restaurant and Spa month locations highlighted by Fort Lauderdale this fall, make plans to enjoy the impending explosion of art just south of there in Miami, including the annual Art Africa exhibition, Prizm Art Fair, Futurama, MUCE, and MoCA—all of which prominently feature artists and curators from the Spanish, English and French-speaking Caribbean diaspora. And as we’d say on my island as you begin your explorations—walk good!
For this and related articles, see https://www.islandoriginsmag.com/collecting-caribbean-art-on-a-budget
Also see “Why you should start collecting contemporary Caribbean art”
Sonia Morgan, Island Origins, September 26, 2019