Displaying items by tag: caribbean art

The December 2017 edition of Miami Art Week had over 100,000 visitors converging on the festivities and also saw Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean's visual and performing arts platform, No Commission, back for the second time, under the theme 'a celebration of Island Might'.

Helmed by Jamaica-born curatorial director Nicola Vassell, the showcase featured 30 artists from the United States and the Caribbean. There were also talks and performances highlighting issues concerning the creative economy and development of young artists in an increasingly diverse marketplace with nuanced systems of inclusion and meritocracy.

Founded by Dean, No Commission was created as a platform to allow visual artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell their art in a global environment directly to an audience of established and new collectors with no commissions or percentages of the sale taken from any sales.

"The Dean Collection and No Commission are two different things: the Dean Collection is my personal collection, a museum I want to create for my kids, so all the works that belong to the Dean Collection we never sell," he said.

Dean added that the concept was something he wished to do himself and only reluctantly accepted corporate sponsorship once the rules of engagement with the artist remaining top priority remained intact.

"I came up with this whole idea, and I was going to build it out myself. Then Bacardi reached out and said they wanted to be a part of it," he said. "Since then, we've given over $3 million dollars directly into artists' pockets and got billions of impressions as we've travelled the world, and Nicola has been my partner laying this thing down."

Dean admits that it was with some scepticism on the part of the existing gallery/artist system that his project came to fruition.

"Coming to Miami, we wanted to focus on that diasporic element with the islands," said Vassell. "Effectively when we travel with No Commission, we try to talk to the city where we are coming to ... we try to identify youth culture there and look at what the artists are communicating themselves and what they are focused on in that city."

In partnership with Bacardi rum, No Commission has travelled to six cities in four countries. eight of the artists featured in Miami were from Jamaica: including RenÈe Cox, Ebony G Patterson, Leasho Johnson, Di Andre Caprice Davis, and Phillip Thomas.

Category Arts and Culture
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Art in the Caribbean

The Caribbean culture is an amalgamation of influences. Among the islands, the differences in their colonial and independence histories, economies and availability of dedicated institutions has resulted in a powerfully diverse range of work. Although artists from Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti have traditionally received most critical acclaim, there are plenty of undiscovered artists working throughout the region.


The Caribbean's true art history dates back to the rock art and body painting carried out by the indigenous Arawak and Taino Indian peoples. For many of the Caribbean countries, art in its more modern sense began when they became independent from their imperial overlords. For example, in Haiti, Henri Christophe encouraged the development of art in the newly independent country in 1807.

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Of the various forms of art, Caribbean literature has been widely studied and appreciated. Painting, too, has had its fair share of international renown. Less well known but nonetheless highly developed are the fields of sculpture, print making, performance and photography. In the past, some in the art world have differentiated between "high art" and "popular art," but this boundary is becoming increasingly blurred.

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Much Caribbean artwork is stereotyped as the work of "naïf" painters. This form of painting works at the primary level of the senses using raw, vivid colors and a composition that celebrates freedom of expression and spontaneity. Other forms of painting do exist, however. Modernist painters such as Lucien Price and Luce Turner used modern artistic theories in their interpretation of the local environment. Painters within the School of Beauty, such as Bernard Sejourne and Bernard Sejourne, used a dreamy surrealism to depict individual figures that highlighted individual development as opposed to a national consciousness.

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Renowned Artists

Bypass the often substandard paintings on sale in the Caribbean's many tourist traps and seek out established galleries, such as Habitation Clement in Martinique or Jamaica's national gallery. Keep an eye out for work by famous artists such as Thimoléon Déjoie, Wilfredo Lam, Colbert Lochard, Edouard Preston, Antoine Derennoncourt, Archibald Lochar, Numa Desroches, Philomé Obin, Petion Savain and Georges Ramponneau.

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Thimoléon Déjoie

Modern Artists

Seek out undiscovered artists by visiting the art schools and art departments of Caribbean universities. Many have rotating exhibitions where the students are able to show their work. The San Alejandro Academy of Havana, Cuba, was founded 1818 and is the oldest art school in the Caribbean. Up-and-coming modern artists include Jasmin Joseph, Lyonel St Eloi, Marilène Phipps, Marithou Latortue Dupoux, Pascal Moin, Fritzodt Antoine, Joselus Joseph, Odille Latortue, Pascal Smarth, Albert Desmangles, Essud Fungcap, Patrick Wah and Andre Dimanche.

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Vierge et Cochons by Jasmin Joseph

Category Arts and Culture

Miami Broward Carnival - 2017


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