Omowale Stewart – The colour of our culture

THE NATIONAL CULTURAL Foundation and the Board of the National Art Gallery  staged an exhibition, entitled ART-SPEAK of Omowale Stewart’s work, at the Errol Waldron Building, which is part of the University of the West Indies Medical School in Jemmotts Lane, St Michael. It was to celebrate his contribution to the development of the arts in Barbados in the post-Independence period.

The show ART-SPEAK s not a retrospective, but curator Janice Whittle captures the versatility of Stewart in the variety of media he has explored. The works date from the 1980s.

It may seem unconventional to have staged this art exhibit in a medical school (I certainly was surprised that the space was there, set back as it is from the road) and yet was able to hold so many works of art. However, with the country in need of more spaces to show visual art, there is something quite lovely to have young doctors – future healers of the mind and body – sharing space with an exhibit that celebrates the mind of one man and the bodies of our people.

Bodies, especially women’s bodies, are a major part of Omowale’s contemplation. There is a lot of warmth and sensuousness in the way he lovingly renders one woman in the 1980 painting Tante. The same elements are there again in a new work from 2016 called Makeda.

But, more than just luscious bodies, Omawale captures the individual looks of these women and gives the viewer some suggestion of their personalities. In the second room Whittle has placed the sketches of Stewart together with portraits he has done in oil pastel, ink and watercolour. Here again Stewart gives each portrait a real sensitivity and the lines have a lot of tonal power. Read more

Source: Nation News (Barbados)