Since January 26, contemporary artist Sheena Rose has been acting curator of the Contemporary Art/Contemporary Issues Group’s art exhibition.
The showing, which runs until February 9, features 15 works from Adrian Richards, Alanis Forde, Anna Gibson, Simone Asia, Jared Burton, Ronald Williams, Matthew Kupa Murrell and Adam Patterson. Speaking to Bajan Vibes at her River Road, St Michael studio where the two-week exhibition is being held, Rose stressed the urgent need for a permanent home for artistic expression on the island in the form of a national art gallery.
“I would like after this that the Government and people could see that we do need a national art gallery, that we do need spaces . . . so we have work that is speaking and is also valuable,” she said.
Rose, who was recently featured in the New York Times for her innovative and unconventional works, said her aim was to highlight the difference between tourist art and contemporary art.
“Tourist art is more like a souvenir, while the contemporary art is more addressing the reality of our space,” she explained.
“If we don’t know contemporary art in Barbados and only know tourist art, how can we push contemporary art? So we need to see more of it to understand it and appreciate it,” she added, while suggesting that contemporary art should be added to the primary and secondary schools’ curriculum.
Since its opening earlier this month, over 500 art lovers have viewed the exhibition which discusses, through its works, issues such as racism and classism.
In his piece, This Beach belong to We, Adrian Forde examines how Barbadians are prohibited from going to certain beaches, while upcoming contemporary artist Alanis Forde explores the things artists do to survive financially.
Rose, who is a visual arts teacher at the Barbados Community College, said the exhibition has fulfilled her objective of garnering interest from local and international buyers.
“I wanted to advocate or show people that there are possibilities of having shows even in a construction site and it is somewhat embarrassing because we should have spaces that we can have more shows,” the Fulbright scholar said.
“I wish that more people would see the importance and value in art because it adds so much for the country,” she emphasized.