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V.I. Contemporary Art III Exhibit Opened at Cane Roots Art Gallery: Part 2

Cane Roots Art Gallery Entrance (Source photo by Elisa McKay)

In the two-part series V.I. Contemporary Art III Exhibit, 15 artists who opened at Cane Roots Art Gallery Friday, March 15, are featured. Part one included nine artists and part two will feature six more. The exhibition is dedicated to the late Candia Atwater-Shields, Esq., founder of the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts.

Sonia Deane (Source photo by Elisa McKay)
Lucien Downes (Submitted photo)

Gallerist Sonia Deane and local artist/curator Lucien Downes have carved an artistic niche in the Virgin Islands territory, personally and collectively.

Together, they’ve blended their talents to produce a lasting effect on what art is…what it looks like…and what it means to the viewer.

V.I. Contemporary Art III is their third act and there’s more to come!

Mike Walsh moved from New York to St. Croix in 1976 to work at Life and Environmental Arts Project (LEAP) in the rainforest. After supervising a program that brought together locally harvested tropical hardwoods and the talents of local artisans as a training program for local youths, he decided to make St. Croix his home. 

In 1978, Walsh began his own company, Walsh Metal Works, where he provided the Caribbean with industrial, architectural and residential fabrications. With an art background at Creighton University, he began to create his own metal art sculptures and showed them at the Good Hope Fine Art Exhibits. He later opened Studio Walsh Gallery curating the works of other artists, hosting art and dance performances, and also showing his own huge, although lightweight, large-scale metal sculptural creations. 

In this show, Walsh’s “Untitled” piece draws an uncanny similarity to one of the Adinkra symbols from Ghana, which seems to touch on his broad range of influences in the ancient tradition. The symbol means “The Adinkra King.” He is an artist who works with a variety of techniques and materials: wood, bronze, stainless steel and iron, as well as works on paper.

Untitled by Mike Walsh (Photo by Isobelle Yousef)

Silvia Kahn is an artist, designer, and world traveler. Inspired by her parents, she delved into the artistic world successfully. Kahn graduated from Hetzendorfer Modeschule in Vienna, Austria, where she mastered all fields of art. Her accurate craftsmanship and joyful creativity are reflected in her figurative style. She exhibits solo and in group shows in Vienna, Paris, Munich, Ibiza, and the French and U.S. Caribbean. 

Kahn sketches on paper with pencil and pastels using gouache and watercolors and on canvas mixing acrylics and gouache as mediums. 

“Contemporary Blues” is Kahn’s offering to V.I. Contemporary Art III.

Contemporary ‘Blues’ – Acrylic on Gouache by Silvia Kahn (Source photo by Elisa McKay)

Augustin Holder worked together with Lucien Downes as they showcased the Caribbean in a new art: V.I. Contemporary. “As time goes along, contemporary is more present, taking on a new depth or feel,” Holder noted.

“Opposite Sides” was Holder’s solo exhibit that opened December 2023 at Cane Roots Art Gallery. His character, Mr. Nocturnal always comes back in his art pieces. It was only apropos to have him come back in the composition, “Lone Soldier,” that he shows in this exhibit, Holder said.

Holder applauds Deane for her mission and what she represents in the arts on St. Croix. “It aligns with my sensibilities and I like what she is doing for the territory with the gallery,” he said. 

“The white space in “Lone Soldier”  represents the whole space – the absence of time and the presence of time,” Holder said. “I feel really light about that piece. I hope people will enjoy it.”

Lone Soldier, Acrylic on Canvas by Augustin Holder (Source photo by Elisa McKay)

Niarus Walker is a visual artist who lives on St. Croix. She has participated in numerous solo and group shows over the years.

“In Contemplation of the Collective Consciousness” is a 12-piece wax transfer vignette from an original 40-piece installation created by Walker in 2016. There are many faces the viewer may recognize…Mao Zedong, Mother Theresa, Che Guevara, and even Walker herself.

Walker’s approach to her wax transfer was her thinking of all the notorious people in the world. “We are all fallen people and some of us fall deeper than others. None of us are better than another. We are all the same. All of these people are human beings. Some of us do dastardly things and some of us do magnificent things and are known to be righteous.”

The viewers get to make their own decisions as to who may have fallen from grace or who is one of the righteous!

In contemplation of the collective consciousness, Wax Transfer by Niarus Walker (Source photo by Elisa McKay)

Ziva is a painter who lives on St.Croix. She works in mixed media, acrylics, oil pastels, ink, texturing paste, and many other mediums. “It’s a great way to approach art – to have fun with different mediums. There are so many things you can use.” Ziva said there is no wrong in art. If it’s not pleasing to you, you just keep working.

“I’m constantly painting. I paint every day.” Ziva finds art to be therapeutic for her and she has been in numerous exhibits since she moved from Taos, NM four years ago. 

Recently, Ziva took her visiting mom to The St. George’s Botanical Gardens. “We were there as the sun was setting. I felt like I was capturing what we were visualizing at that moment, with some added flourishes, in my piece, ‘Breath Taking.’ It felt very special to me because I was there with my mother and the Gardens are so beautiful.” 

“We feel so blessed. It’s amazing to live here. The island is beautiful. The people are beautiful. The culture is fantastic.”

Ziva looks forward to the upcoming exhibit at CMCARTS, where she will show three pieces. Her hopeful goal is to have a solo show someday.

Breath Taking, Mixed Media by Ziva (Source photo by Elisa McKay)

Amy Gibbs has been doing art all her life. She loves art!

She grew up in Charleston, SC and attended Atlanta College of Art.

Gibbs has lived on St. Thomas 27 years, but has “fallen madly in love with St. Croix” after spending the 2023 summer on the big island as the artist-in-residence at CMCARTS. 

She works in mixed media and loves to experiment. “The past eight years, I have worked with alcohol inks. They’re very concentrated, very fluid, and very challenging. I work on metal, plexiglass, and tile.”

Gibbs is in her 11th year of running an art center. She has a program, Art Uncorked. She teaches children and adults and exposes them to a different medium each week. Gibbs shows them how to work it and then lets them go for it and enjoy the therapeutic process. 

Gibbs’ inspiration for “Yemaya” is the fact that “she is the source – the source of the water,” Gibbs explained. “Yemaya is significant. She is African and Caribbean, and the Afro-Caribbean religion. She is motherly and nurturing and embodies unconditional love, compassion, protection – all these things I strive to be.”

Yemaya, Mixed Media: Resin, Acrylic, Alcohol inks by Amy Gibbs (Source photo by Elisa McKay)

The exhibit closes Friday, April 26. Cane Roots Art Gallery is open Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

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