In 2014, Sheri AnnMarie Nicholls won National Festival Independence of Creative Arts gold as a first time entry and also the coveted Prime Minister’s Scholarship for outstanding work. Related articles A change of art Bajan says law of free speech on... Art is where her heart lies Since then, the “shy artist”, as she describes herself, has been emerging from her comfortable cocoon bit by bit and putting her art out there for the world to see. Sheri hails from the beautiful Bathsheba area in St Joseph, where she lives with mum and dad Margaret and Winston Nicholls, and two older sisters. The past student of the Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School has an associate degree in visual arts and a bachelor degree in studio arts from the Barbados Community College, the latter she was able to pursue because of the scholarship won at NIFCA. The 30-year-old said being an artist was a calling. “My family was always creative with their hands and my love was always art. Where I live fostered that appreciation because I was surrounded by nature and the beach was right there. I wanted to be a ballerina growing up, but art was my first love.” Surprisingly, Sheri said she didn’t do art while at secondary school but at BCC. “I was in the working world and I felt stifled. I felt I wasn’t accomplishing my best and I quit my job in 2011 and said let me try my hand at what I love, which was art.” As a Christian, Sheri looked to God for guidance in everything and pursuing art was one. “I kept seeing the signs that art was my calling. I kept seeing the word all around me and I realised that what I couldn’t say in words to people face to face I could say with my art as it spoke for me. It translated my emotions . . . . How I felt about my environment.” All of Sheri’s paintings are about her childhood and where she grew up. “I have paintings of traditional things like smocking, growing up with your grandparents, your aunty crocheting. I use objects and sceneries as metaphors. While studying for her degree, Sheri learnt about 3D, art history, photography, printmaking. “It also involved chemistry and physics. You gotta get colour temperature . . . it was a whole science. Art opened my eyes to a whole field of thinking.” Sheri’s final-year portfolio for her associate degree was what she learnt in the two years: “Mine was a merger of fantasy with tradition. I had cane-cutters and fairies looking on the hard work of these people. When I got to my bachelor’s I expanded it, but a little bit differently. I tackled the subjects of arts and craft and the importance of both.” That meant Sheri explored why craft was in a section by itself and art was holding a more classical feel. She wanted to know what determined their value and if function determines their importance. Her final portfolio for her three-year bachelor studies was about memory and tangible and intangible times in her childhood and how it impacted on her growing up. “I always wanted to remember where I came from and what defined me. What I am thankful for. I find that I am very sentimental.” Sheri’s portfolio had many pieces – 8x10s (over 40 of them in textile); one 3 x four feet; a large hand-stitched quilt; two large crochet pieces. The 3x4 feet was an oil painting that took over two weeks to make and it was a representation of her mum and her niece with the young child at the feet of her elder while she worked on a crochet piece. This was the award-winning NIFCA entry entitled Water Prayer. The colours in the piece are sienna, raw amber, van dyke browns, verderian green, some crimson red and colours that she mixes a lot to create what she wants. “I love to work with oil, acrylics and watercolours. The length of time for a piece depends on my mood. If it’s oil you have to wait until it is dry. I also like to dabble in textiles.” Sheri is inspired by her environment. “I have never moved away from home. I have lived in Bathsheba all my life. And it, evokes an emotion in me that I really can’t speak about, so it spills over in my painting. It is the peace. The spirituality. The smell of the air, the sound of the sea. If I travel overseas I get homesick,” she said, laughing. The youngest of three girls, Sheri said she loves to paint her mother as “she inspires a lot of my work.”
Swedish-born contemporary artist, Melanie Blomgren spent several years studying Fine Art, Graphic Design and Photography before leaving Sweden to travel extensively throughout the Far East, Australia and Europe.
She moved to Barbados in 1990 after living briefly in Britain, America and Greece. She is fluent in several languages and has gained much of her influence and insight from her vast first hand experience of different and varied cultures.
Whilst an accomplished classical artist, Melanie is best known for her mosaic works and driftwood art which portray vibrant, colourful expressions of tropical life, all tinged with a subtle irony. Her burlesque-style nightclub ladies reflect her observations during her many years spent in the hospitality industry and like all of her pieces clearly depict the underlying humour behind them. Her still life and abstract pieces illustrate a deep understanding and appreciation for her adopted home, showing the inherent beauty of the Caribbean with a profound respect for its culture and traditions. Melanie also tackles the greats like Klimt, resulting in unique interpretations of their famous works. Melanie’s mosaic skills are often called upon to create custom mosaics on walls, floors, pools, bathrooms and steam rooms including properties belonging to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and The Cliff Restaurant. She has also completed commissions in the U.K. and Sweden. She has participated in numerous exhibitions both in Barbados and Sweden and continues to amuse and delight patrons with her unique blend of humour and her ability to colourfully capture all aspects of life and society in the Caribbean.
Terrence Rupert Piggott
Rupert Piggott is a Barbadian artist whose paintings depict his personal reflection of the island of Barbados. From tranquility to impassioned anguish, his works convey a rich and extensive range of emotion. Each of his various painting styles is a result of a long period of introspection, and they are all unified under his ability to channel his unique environment and experience into artistic expression.
Although each of his interactions with the canvas is a personal process of self-discovery, Rupert believes that the internal experience is also heavily impacted and shaped by external influences. Thus in his paintings, he often incorporates symbolism and imagery that is specific to the small island environment of Barbados. This open-minded approach to his work has led to an ability to switch styles, as well as opportunities to expand his area of knowledge and technique when making commissioned work.
The style and subject matter of an artwork depends wholly on Rupert’s area of concentration at a particular time. In works from the series “Barbadiana”, for instance, Rupert utilizes imagery derived directly from societal and cultural aspects of Barbados, specifically that of the now-declining laboring class. This body of work reflects a desire to preserve and document a part of Barbadian culture. Similarly in other works, in order to investigate the underlying paradigms behind popular imagery, Rupert’s paintings may include Christian symbolism that refers to the dominant religion of Barbados rather than to any religious affiliation in respect to the artist. However, in works such as those from the series “Absence / Presence”, Rupert renounces the use of any recognizable themes, and relies on abstraction and the purity of the medium to convey thought and emotion. The diversity and depth of his many themes speak to an extremely thoughtful, versatile, and reactionary artistic method.
Rupert Piggott was born in Barbados, and he received an associate degree in graphic arts from the Barbados Community College. In 2007, he was accepted to the Instituto Superior de Arte in Cuba. He is currently based in Barbados, where he has exhibited work in numerous prominent galleries. He has also had extensive experience making murals and commissioned works.
Artist Statement We are taught to nurture our bodies, our spirit and our minds, but little instruction is given to protecting and allowing the seed of creativity to grow…..Creativity is essential to my experience and I must continually evolve if I am to find harmony with myself and my creator…