In a secluded corner of one of Antigua’s most exclusive resorts, against the turquoise backdrop of the Caribbean Sea, an artistic explosion is taking place.
From vibrantly depicted pelicans, to the gentle brush strokes denoting a sun-baked trip to the beach, to the haunting green eyes of a temptress – all perfectly encapsulated on canvas – each creation is as distinct as the next.
Together they comprise the latest collection which is Jumby Bay’s acclaimed annual art show.
But despite the location, this is far from an esoteric excursion for a well-heeled elite. This is a show with a purpose.
Proceeds from sales of the 100-plus items on display are to be channelled towards developing educational programmes for budding local artists.
The exhibition – now in its third year – also gives talented Antiguans an opportunity to showcase their work.
This year, 18 artists and sculptors have seized that chance. The ensuing spectacle is something to behold. Room after breezy oceanfront room is adorned with Caribbean-themed singular offerings.
They include fine art paintings, bottles encrusted with seashells, and abstract Amedeo Modigliani-inspired elongated faces. One thing they all have in common is the incredible skill and attention to detail that has gone into their construction.
The enthusiasm of the exhibition’s curator, Eurileen Thibou, is infectious.
The show is currently the only one of its kind in the country. While two or three resorts display a handful of pieces for sale, most local galleries have fallen victim to the recession in recent years.
Two of Jumby Bay’s homeowners are credited with the show’s conception.
“The whole purpose is to promote local art,” Eurileen imparts. “The show has been so successful that a lot of the artists have received commissions already.
“The feedback has been great so far, we have sold several pieces which are replaced as soon as they are removed.”
While the prices might be out of many people’s reach – some will set you back several thousand dollars – a percentage of the sales is earmarked for providing art educators for schools.
“We are in talks with the Ministry of Education who are very excited about the venture. While they have ideas for things they want to do, they don’t have the funding or the manpower to put them into action,” Eurileen continues.
“Local government schools don’t have proper art teachers – they have teachers who do art but it’s not the same thing.
“We hope to catch children at that ideal age where they have started to develop their skills and want to continue as they get older.
“A lot of people think you can’t build a career on art – we want to show them that you can.”
For the next three months, the public can view the stunning pieces for themselves. The exhibition will run until the end of April and is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30 pm to 6 pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 12 noon. Email email@example.com to arrange a visit.