In a chilly room of the Central Bank of Barbados’ Exchange Centre, one can be greeted by cultural characters of Barbados resplendent in the Caribbean’s warm colours, ranging from a classical masquerade get-up to a bubbling Mother Sally.
For some viewers, the heat under the collar may increase as their eyes behold an array of the quintessential female Bajan derriere, offered up in views bound to tantalise the imagination while at the same time reminding one of the expansive freedoms of Caribbean lifestyle.
Sensuality is further pronounced in the candle-lit setting where a gentleman brandishes a less than gentlemanly countenance as he administers a bush bath to a pleasured female.
Then there is the unmistakable portrait of the Master Blaster, a star among those who brought pride to the region as a collective, followed by booklets of cartoons of social commentary that once came to life in a Barbados newspaper.
Such an exhibit covering the intertwined disciplines of artistic presentation on paper and canvas can belong to a few people, and one of them has to be artist, cartoonist, songwriter, and costume designer, the late Winston Jordan.
The selected works of Jordan, who passed away in 2007, have been on display since the beginning of this month and will continue to be until April 4.
It is part of the Annual Caribbean Fine Art Fair (CaFA). A gallery was set up for other Barbadian and regional artistes for five days, ending March 10, in the Courtney Blackman Grand Salle. But unlike that brief art show, Jordan’s work was given a month showcase, reflective of the lasting impact he made on Barbadian cultural life.
CaFA director Anderson Pilgrim said the exhibition is not just about celebrating Jordan’s legacy “but it looks at what he has contributed overall to the various areas that he operated in – commercial art, visual art, festival art”.
“He was one of the people who drove Crop Over,” the organiser said, hurrying on to make clear that the culturally imbued designs and promotions of Jordan in Crop Over are “well, not exactly what it has become today”.
“He didn’t particularly like the direction Crop Over was going – the skin and feathers thing. He wanted us to portray our culture and to delve into history.”
Pilgrim reflected that his attention was first drawn to Jordan as a cartoonist at the Nation Newspaper in the 70s.
“It was a revelation to see Barbadian culture reflected in cartoons when all the cartoons that I knew of were done overseas. Winston captured the Barbadian essence.”
Speaking of “a wonderful selection of art work that he left us”, Pilgrim added: “I believe that the national collection needs to have some of his works. He is a national icon and we need to remember him.”
Within the annex to the Central Bank lay pieces of work ranging from creations done by pen, to crayon to acrylic, on which Barbadians could judge whether the images that capture aspects of Barbadian culture should be preserved for posterity as part of the island’s national collection.