Category Archives: Art

Zoya Taylor’s ‘Sweet Infidel’ wins first prize

Zoya Taylor - The Sweet Infidel

Ten Years of Wide Eyed Emotions

‘Sweet Infidel’ by Jamaica’s Zoya Taylor was selected this week for the first prize Award at the 2015 International Juried Exhibition of The Center for Contemporary Art, New Jersey. In the painting she uses one of her wide eyed characters with skinny bodies which have become her trademark.


By Jorge Cuartas

Zoya Taylor was born in Vancouver, Canada; grew up in Kingston, Jamaica; and now lives in Norway. She is the daughter of a Jamaican father and a Canadian mother. Although she took drawing classes as a child and always had a desire to be an artist, she focused on full-time painting only ten years ago.

“I do not paint portraits but rather the odd and marginal characters which fill the spaces in between. They communicate the different facets of humanity. My cast is the cast of misfits; they are immigrants found between cultures, continents, languages and disciplines” – Zoya Taylor.

Zoya Taylor - Me and my shadow Zoya Taylor - You and me against the world

Zoya Taylor - I said no - Oil on Canvas Zola Taylor - The Reluctant Bridesmaids - Jamaica

That is why her characters have a worldly but innocent look; and that is why they are emotional. In her series, running now for ten years, Zoya Taylor’s characters have been known to feel  it all: anger, shyness, love, insecurity, everything.

Her work has been exhibited in the USA, Norway, Germany, Italy, Spain, England and Jamaica. The exhibition in New Jersey’s Center for Contemporary Art showing her ‘Sweet Infidel’ opens on November 6th 2015 and runs to December 12th 2015.

Paintings used in this article:

  1. ‘Sweet Infidel’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
  2. ‘Me and my Shadow’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
  3. ‘You and me against the World’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
  4. ‘I said No!’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
  5. ‘The reluctant Bridesmaids’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
Links: Zoya Taylor Gallery | Jamaican Painters Pinterest Board  | Caribbean Painters Facebook
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The Color of Social Injustice

Le depart pour le Travail - Jean Francois Millet 1851 2

Comparing Millet’s and Brintle’s ‘Le Départ pour le Travail’

Back in the 19th century, the French painter Jean-François Millet (1814 – 1875), moved by the social injustice in his country, shifted the focus in his paintings from the rich and prominent to those at the bottom of the social ladder. Millet was a Realist and one of the founders of the Barbizon School.


By Jorge Cuartas

‘Le Départ pour le Travail (1851-1853)’ is one of his paintings of peasants that captures the poverty of rural French life. In it, he hides the faces of the agricultural laborers to emphasize their anonymity and marginalized position.

About 150 years later Haitian Patricia Brintle paints her own ‘Le Départ pour le Travail’. She uses Millet’s orientation and composition, but at the same time emphasizes the poverty of her subjects less by using bright colors and by replacing the rake of the male worker by a guitar.

Le depart pour le Travail - Patricia Brintle

Ms. Brintle is a self-taught painter who favors the use of acrylic. Her paintings are bright, vivid and vibrant. Born and raised in Haiti, she immigrated to the United States in 1964. In her work she uses symbolic elements to bridge the gap between Haitian islanders and the Haitian Diaspora.

Paintings used in this article:

  1. ‘Le Départ pour le Travail’, Jean-François Millet, oil on canvas
  2. ‘Le Départ pour le Travail, after Jean-François Millet’, Patricia Brintle, acrylic on canvas

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Aruban painter Elvis Tromp speaks with colors #CaribbeanPainters

Haciendo Redo - Elvis Tromp

Elvis Tromp is an Aruban painter who speaks with colors. Using oil or acrylic he has painted several Aruban landscapes since he was a child, but lately he has expanded into figurative and abstract art.

Haciendo Redo’ shows three women sitting down to gossip. Set against a powerful yellow background the painting captures a very recognizable activity around the Caribbean.

Tromp, who has led the art movement on his island for decades has an active page  on Facebook, showing his latest works.

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Art Exposition: ‘Bloodlines’ by Firelei Báez

Upcoming Dominican artist Firelei Báez this week opened her first solo exhibition. It is called ‘Bloodlines’ and can be seen at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Firelei Báez (1981) raised in Dajabón, a hill in the Dominican Republic that borders with Haiti, created several new paintings for this exposition.


by Jorge Cuartas

The exposition explores themes like black culture; Afro-Caribbean folklore; the cultural ambiguity of the Caribbean; and the black resistance movement in the Caribbean and the United States. Báez combines watercolors, sketches and sculptures into unique detailed works of art which blend past, present and future using decorative elements of fashion and body ornamentation.

Bloodlines Highlights

  • Man Without a Country, 2014—A highly detailed work composed of over 144 small drawings that crafts parallels between obscure episodes of history and contemporary social struggles
  • Patterns of Resistance, 2015—A new series of blue and white drawings centered on a textile-pattern created by Báez, using different political references from social movements in the black diaspora in the Unites States and the Caribbean
  • Bloodlines, 2015—A new series of portraits inspired by the tignon, a headdress which free women of color were obligated to use by law in18th century New Orleans

Paintings used in this article:

  1. Those who douse it  (detail)
  2. Man without a country (detail)
  3. Bloodlines (detail)
The exposition will be on view until February 28, 2016, at PAMM: 1103 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, Florida

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CAZABON: TRINIDAD’S FIRST GREAT PAINTER

Nowadays he is generally regarded as one of the Caribbean’s first great painters. But in his time, Trinidad born Michel-Jean Cazabon (1813-1888) was appreciated more in Europe than in his country.  


by Jorge Cuartas


Michel-Jean Cazabon came from a rather wealthy family of free colored immigrants from Martinique, who owned a sugar plantation. At the age of 24 he was sent to Paris to study medicine, where he decided to concentrate on painting.

Cazabon started painting under Paul Delaroche, a leading painter of that time in Paris. He soon became popular as a society painter of Trinidad scenery; and of portraits of planters and merchants of Port of Spain. It is due to his paintings that we have a fair view of Trinidad’s way of life in the 19th century.

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His works include images of the Caroni river, the Port of Spain docks, sea views and other landscapes. He preferred using watercolors combining stunning pallets that remain fresh and bright to this day. Some of this most important works are part of the following collections:

  • ‘Views of Trinidad’ (18 lithographs, 1851)
  • ‘The Harris Collection’ (44 paintings, 1848-1854)
  • ‘Album of Trinidad’ (18 lithographs, 1857)

In England and France his work was much admired and he won several awards and medals at exhibitions. His first exhibition was at the Salon du Louvre in 1839, followed by expositions every year from 1843 to 1847. Back at home his art was much less appreciated. Disillusioned with life he became a drunken eccentric.

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After his death in 1888, Cazabon’s style gained more recognition in the region and his influence grew. Today he is considered to be one of the first great painters of the Caribbean. His work is appreciated for the rich details and for the use of light and shadow.

His scenes of a clean, natural and unspoiled Trinidad show a country as it was before the heavy industrialization of the twentieth century.To many Trinidadians the scenes are familiar, creating a tremendous sense of nostalgia.

Cazabon’s paintings can be seen at The Louvre in Paris and at the National Museum and Art Gallery in Trinidad.

Paintings used in this article:

1. Dry River
2. On the Caroni River
3. Maravel Valley

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