When Susan Mains and Hazel-Ann Batson of the Gallery of Caribbean Art planned a collaboration almost a year ago, little did they know it would become a sounding board for social justice in the southern Caribbean.
Westindian, a one word description of our Caribbean civilization was coined by the late Alister Hughes of Grenada. It conveys that we as people of different islands come from diverse places, different races, various religions, yet we are remarkable similar and usually get along quite well. Borrowing from the Instagram square, the four artists have for the most part followed a square format to depict the people, flora, fauna that all contribute to a lively synthesis of a society.
The word square however has taken on a much deeper connotation with recent events. To “square” to a builder is to make the line plumb, make sure the corner is 45 degrees. To square to a mathematician is to multiply it times itself to achieve a greater sum. Square to a young person of the 70’s was a person who just wasn’t cool.
But now, to artist Mains, square means to set it right for the young Yugge Farrell of St Vincent.
Hearing of Yugge’s plight through social media, she painted from the phrase, “When your neighbour’s house is on fire, wet yours”. Posting a picture of the painting on social media caught the attention of Holly Bynoe, curator and artist from Bequia, who tagged Jerry George, radio and media personality.
Further the image caught the attention of a young Barbadian song writer Amber Stone. Amber wrote a song about Yugge and released it.
Andrew Pilgrim, a prominent attorney from Barbados got involved. A great Westindian! Yugge is now out of the mental hospital. She is on bail. Her new court date is Dec 17, 2018. A whole year of justice waiting and denied to this young lady.
The painting will be displayed along with Susan Mains’ works and those of Asher Mains, Catherine Forter-chee-a-tow and Virgil Broodhagen. Amber Stone will be at the opening to sing her new song. Exhibition opens February 11, at 5 p.m. at Gallery of Caribbean Art, Northern Business Centre, St Peter, Barbados. All are welcome.