Art Exhibition: “Islands Do Strange Things”

Bajo El Sol Gallery presents a solo exhibition by La Vaughn Belle—“Islands Do Strange Things”—which opens on March 3 and runs through March 30, 2023. Bajo El Sol Gallery is located at Mongoose Junction, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight writes:

Join us on Friday, March 3rd at Bajo El Sol Gallery for the opening exhibition event featuring internationally-recognized Crucian artist La Vaughn Belle. Starting at 4pm till 8pm guests can experience the exhibition, titled “Islands Do Strange Things,” which encompasses three sets of works across multiple mediums. The pieces explore concepts including survival, history, geography, memory, and how these ideas manifest as a colonial subject. The event will also feature the musical stylings of St. John musicians Eva & Mark.

La Vaughn Belle was born in Tobago, but raised in and operates her studio in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. She has exhibited her work in the Caribbean, the USA, and Europe in institutions such as the Museo del Barrio in New York City, the Museum of the African Diaspora in California, Casa de las Americas in Cuba, and Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Denmark. Her art is also featured in the collections of the National Photography Museum and the Vestsjælland Museum in Denmark. La Vaughn Belle has been featured in previous exhibitions and showings at Bajo el Sol including her involvement in the documentary We Carry It Within Us in 2018, and a V.I. Studies Collective community forum in 2019. Belle was also highly lauded as the co-creator of a transnational public art project named “I Am Queen Mary”, which featured a 7-foot-tall monument to the Fireburn queen in front of a former colonial warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Belle’s artist statement says, “I see my art practice as an investigative tool, a platform for thinking, a way to develop knowledge and engage in dialogue. My work is greatly defined by my positionality as an artist living and working in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a place that has changed colonial hands seven times- the longest being Denmark and the last being the United States. As a result, we struggle to project our own imaginary onto ourselves. My work usually involves a lot of research and thinking through the narratives inscribed in objects and spaces. In essence, I am working to create a counter-archive, to find and fill in the gaps produced in the archives, striving to make visible the unremembered.”

Belle says the exhibition title “Islands Do Strange Things” encapsulates the themes in all the works to be displayed at Bajo El Sol Gallery in March. The exhibition will feature new watercolor paintings on paper entitled “A Ritual of Paradise,” and some works previously exhibited in New York City – painting collages entitled “How to Imagine the Tropicalia as Monumental”, and digital prints on metal from a series entitled “For Those of Us Who Live At the Shoreline.” The exhibition will run from March 3 to March 30.

More information about the exhibition, the pricing of works, and future exhibitions can be found by contacting the gallery at 340-693-7070 or

Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight and David Knight Jr., Bajo El Sol Gallery & Art Bar owners since 2016, are proud of the gallery’s over 20-year legacy of support and engagement with the arts community of St. John and the greater Virgin Islands. The gallery is home to thought-provoking monthly exhibitions, readings by award winning V.I. writers & poets, documentary screenings on some of the Caribbean’s most respected thinkers, as well as talks by local academics and visiting curators.

Bajo El Sol Gallery is also home of the Gri Gri Project. The Gri Gri Project’s mission is the creation of interpretive exhibitions, critical writing, events and archives related to the cultural patrimony of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the broader Caribbean region.

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