Tuesday, August 28, 2012


As with much of the Caribbean, art in Barbados is filled with color and the spirit of its people. Its art is an expression of the soul of the island, portraying its struggles as well as the happiness of its people.

Barbadian art covers many different types of mediums, including painting, mural art, sculpture, jewelry making, shell art, carved coconut art, as well as ceramics.

One famous artist is Fielding Babb. He's a painter who utilizes a layering method of paint to give it more or less a three-dimensional aspect to his paintings. His subject matter is mostly of historical buildings and portraying typical Barbadian scenes. Although now he's able to paint and teach art, he didn't start out that way. He had to work at it and didn't get paid very much for his work at all in the beginning. Kind of a typical artists' story. He says, "Do not work for a lot of money - work for love and the money will follow. Get into the true essence of painting and only then will you get recognition." Sometimes I feel like that about this blog or my music compositions, or even my husband's auto airbrush work.

Shell art, in the form of what was known as sailor's valentines, was actually created in the 19th century by the women of the island in order to sell to the sailors as something to take home to their families. It's not just unique to Barbados; other Caribbean ports created similar art. Some of it is really intricate, very detailed work. Definitely impressive to say the least. The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is open to the public to see the beautifully hand-crafted shell art of the Barbados.

Barbados has certainly made its contributions to the world of Caribbean literature. One of the most prolific writers is Kamau Brathwaite. He was one of the co-founders of the Caribbean Artists Movement (that actually includes artists, writers, actors and musicians) and has received numerous awards and accolades. He's traveled and taught across Britain, Africa, and the Caribbean/Americas, writing several plays and a plethora of poetry.

Another key writer was George Lamming. A person of mixed African
and English heritage, similar to my kids, he did relocate to England for a while. He later left to travel and study in several different countries, making a name for himself as a novelist along the way. He also worked as a lecturer and has won several awards for him writings and work.

Up next: Music and Dance

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