The island provides an incredible backdrop of inspiration for artists. The colors, senses, and textures make for a great area to work on your next pièce de résistance. Traditional arts include a number of wood carvings that is not only made of local wood but other natural materials (shells, reeds, etc.). These days, wood carvings can be seen in tourist craft shops, decorating hotels and other buildings, and in galleries. One of the more well-known wood carvers on the island is Joseph Eudovic, who is based in the city of Castries.
No doubt the most prominent artists is Sir Durstan St Omer. He had spent a lifetime dedicated to art and was the designer of the Saint Lucian flag. His public murals are found across the island, and he’s created some in churches as well. St. Omer was even recognized and knighted by the Governor General on behalf of the Her Majesty the Queen for his accomplishments.
Luckily in St. Lucia, there has been a general support for the art from the government, especially after gaining independence. On occasion the government works together with the Folk Research Centre (an NGO) on certain projects. Local businesses have also began to sponsor artists as well, which not only supports the artists but gives the businesses a way to exhibit local flair in their offices.
For such a small island, St. Lucia has produced two Nobel Prize winners. The first was Sir Arthur Lewis who won the Nobel Prize in Economics (1979), and the second was Derek Walcott, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature (1992). Walcott was known for his poetry, plays, and essays. While he trained as a painter and was quite accomplished, he leaned more heavily on his poetry. He wrote of his Methodist upbringing and saw poetry as a form of prayer. As far as influences go, he was drawn to several American and British poets, such as T.S. Eliot (even becoming a recipient of the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2011), Ezra Pound, Robert Lowell, and Elizabeth Bishop. Wolcott passed away just about a year ago at his home in St. Lucia.
Unfortunately, Derek Walcott’s feat kind of overshadows any other Saint Lucian writer. However, I came across a mention of a book called Neg Maron: Freedom Fighter by Michael Aubertin (he’s the former Director of Culture). You can read the synopsis on the post for Saint Lucian literature from the blog A Year of Reading the World. I’ll let her do all the heavy lifting on this one. However, if you are so inclined, you can order a book on Saint Lucian Literature and Theatre: An Anthology of Reviews on the Folk Research Centre’s website.
Up next: music and dance