'Art Zone' off to a promising start
Artist Winroy Messam (right) displaying his work to sculptor-painter Everard Powell at Art Zone held at Destination 22 in Barbican, St Andrew, recently.

ART Zone's inaugural art exhibition, held recently at Destination 22 in Barbican, St Andrew, had a promising start and, according to the organisers, will make its way back to art calendars before year end.

"We will be coming back just before Christmas. We're looking at the first Saturday in December and will have more artists and variety to include fine art and craft, face-painting, condiments and preserves, to bring even more attractions to the crowds we saw here today," said Ewan McAnuff, a 30-year painting veteran and one of the exhibitors.

The one-day exhibition, which featured diverse offerings from 10 artists, unearthed some promising young talents who art crowds and those in search of all things Jamaican will want to look out for.

Among the finds of the show, which was themed 'Still we Rise', were portraiture artists Richard Smith, 23, and Winroy Messam, 26.

Positioned just inside the entrance of the venue, the two young talents stole the show with the patrons who made their way inside the Hibiscus Gardens location, remaining glued to their booths.

The responses were the same from onlookers and the artists' impromptu models alike.

"Mommy, it looks like me!" remarked 10-year-old Chase Levy in amazement to his mother Yolande Giles-Levy, who was just as ecstatic upon seeing the portrait Smith had created of her son.

"He is impressive! Just standing here and watching the process and seeing the faces come to life, it is amazing!" Giles-Levy said.

The art enthusiast described as therapy watching the artists in action, expressing that she was "fully enjoying this experience".

Mixed-media painter Desanna Watson created a stir of her own with her Fractures and Sea Stories collections. The social commentary pieces, which call attention to Jamaica's post-colonial trappings and the need for the stories of women from all walks of life to be heard, challenged social consciousness.

The lingering effects of COVID-19 evident in the artists' varied interpretations of the deadly virus, ceramicist and painter Talbert Taylor and mixed-media artist Sana Rose captured the pandemic's impact nicely.

Taylor's bowls and Rasta-themed, mask-wearing ceramic heads stood out for their vibrancy and intricacy while in one painting the non-partisan nature of COVID-19 was striking.

Mixed-media collages from her Bloodline series, in which she set out to trace her lineage, explored "what it means to be female" for Sana Rose.

Using a variety of papers to create the right imagery — crepe paper doilies among them — the former visual arts development coordinator at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission achieved the right balance of depth and texture in the smaller-than-usual artworks — perfect gifts for Christmas.

The mother-daughter duo of Denise Francis-Robinson and Attira Robinson brought splash and African pride to the Zone, adding to the colourful palettes created by painter Errol McKenzie and contrasting the more subtle tones of Jack Stuart.

With ample parking and the convenience of 22 Jerk, which is also housed on the property, the venue creates the right atmosphere for patrons to select the perfect art pieces for Christmas for friends and family.

Mixed-media artist Desanna Watson speaking with a young guest at Art Zone.
Chase Levy, 10, reacts on seeing his portrait.
Denise Francis-Robinson's Light Language
Attira Robinson's Sublime Sista — DeLuxe
Errol McKenzie's piece titled Things Fall Apart But Still

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