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HomeArts/CultureRegional Art Exhibition pays tribute to the late Dominican artist Earl Etienne

Regional Art Exhibition pays tribute to the late Dominican artist Earl Etienne

This month, a contingent of Dominican artists represented Dominica on the regional art scene at the Caribbean Fine Art Fair (CAFA) in Bridgetown, Barbados, exhibiting their work and leading a tribute to internationally acclaimed Dominican artist, Earl Etienne.  

Artists Carla Armour & Michael Lees of the Waitukubuli Artist Association (WAA) traveled from Dominica to Barbados, carrying the work of artists Hilroy Fingol and Lowell Royer. The exhibition included work from 45 artists and galleries representing 11 Caribbean nations as well as Ghana, Senegal, UK, and the USA.

On Sunday Ms Armour moderated a panel on the legacy of Earl Etienne entitled, ‘Remembering Earl Etienne’. The panel focused on the impact Earl had on the local, regional, and international art scene, as well as how best to preserve his legacy. 

“Anderson (The organizer of the event) and I agreed that we would present the panel and the audience, most of whom were artists, curators or writers, with three questions,’ said Ms Armour.

‘How passionate was the Artist about his Art, what did we love about the artist and how has his loss affected us and our work?

 ‘What can we consider as his Legacy and how can we establish this Legacy in a way that can live on for generations?’ 

And, ‘What legal requirements are there, with regards to what the Artists leave behind?’

During this discussion, the importance of coupling the artists’ passion and arts practice with ongoing documentation of the artists’ life, influences, processes and markets by themselves, by critics and colleagues, was recognised as of critical importance and mostly lacking in the smaller Caribbean islands.

“What I wanted to establish with this discussion,” said Ms Armour, “is the important requirement that Artists and the Artists’ support community operate collaboratively and professionally, allowing the artists to build provenance for their work so that Caribbean Fine Art is seen on par with any international art space. The end goal after all, is to establish our artists on the international art market scene.”

Michael Lees and Susanne Heitz, also members of WAA were on the panel.

“It was moving to see just how revered Earl was outside of Dominica,” said Michael. “Everyone I met at CAFA knew and loved his work, and everyone noted what a force he was to be reckoned with. In many ways it is thanks to Earl, and his role as a founding member of the Waitukubli Artist Association that I was able to present work in the international space with my Dominican colleagues.”

A selection of Earl’s pieces hung alongside the Dominican contingent, while a tribute video featuring members of WAA speaking about Earl’s impact on them screened at the exhibition.

Anderson Pilgrim, organizer of the event said, “Certainly, one of the highlights of CAFA 2023 was the participation of Dominican contingent and their work. The tribute to Earl D. Etienne in video, original artwork and a panel discussion was reflective of his superlative contribution to Caribbean art and culture.”

“Much of the panel discussion was about the business of art and promoting our artists on the international scene,” said Michael. “So it was really heartening to see local partners such as GEMS Foundation and others come on board to financially support this important trip, helping to solidify Dominica’s mark on the international art scene.”

Astaphans, One Off Productions, and Vetiver Inc provided additional support, making the trip possible.

The panel discussion came right on the heels of Dr Alwin Bully’s death for which a moment of silence was held. 

The  pieces exhibited at the Fair are available for viewing and purchase at https://www.caribbean.global/