Island Beat (Winter 1993)

A new transatlantic race for sailors, a new visitor attraction in Barbados, world championship golf in Jamaica, and Barbados artists shine at Carib Art

1992 champion Nick Faldo. Photograph by David Cannon/ AllsportAnnalee Davis: Betrayal (1993, acrylic, emulsion and watercolour, 131 x 100 cm). Photograph by Ron GriffithBoard bearers on parade for the Johnnie Walker World Championship. David Cannon/ AllsportThe action begins. Photograph by Simon Bruty/ AllsportThe Grenade Hall Signal Station in 1991. Photograph by Jean BauluThe Grenade Hall Signal Station restored as a new visitor attraction. Photograph by Jean Baulu

SUPPORTING CARIB ART

Carib Art was a major exhibition featuring art from thirty-five Caribbean countries. It opened in Curaçao during the summer of 1993, and travelled through the Caribbean, North America and Europe during the next three years; it offered audiences a fresh perspective on what was happening in Caribbean visual arts. Barbados contributed five works to the exhibition. None of the pieces predated1980, but the artists spanned the generations as well as the social diversity of Barbados.

Karl Broodhagen, one of Barbados’s pioneer artists, is still active today as both artist and teacher at the age of 84. Hartley à la Egyptienne is a re- cent sculpture (1989), but Broodhagen’s feeling for the strong, monumental forms of the female face has been reflected in his work for decades.

Born and trained in England before coming to Barbados in the early 1970s, Alison Chapman Andrews has transformed perceptions of the Barbadian landscape. The Kite is an abstract piece, combining views of the rugged north and east coasts. Patterned undulating hills and fields are balanced by majestic palm trees, and the view is framed on two sides by the sea.

Ras Akyem-I Ramsay emerged from a group called DePAM (The People’s Art Movement), which was born of a post- independence desire to bring art to the people, and has become one of Barbados’s most challenging artists. His paintings frequently revolve around a commanding central figure, tortured and anguished, part Christ and part self-portrait. Ghost Ships refers to the middle passage, but the theme is extended to embody the human condition.

Ras Ishi is another of Barbados’ most exciting and vibrant contemporary artists. His depiction of a female figure in her garden has become a comfortable idiom through which he can explore formal elements. In Hills and Valleys II, the female figure nurtures the tangle of plants which encircle her.

Annalee Davis shares with Ishi a conviction that the land and human experience are intimately linked. In Betrayal, Davis’s use of bold personal symbols is rendered in an energetic, often violent manner to convey confrontational messages. The dog, traditionally a symbol of loyalty, hangs limply from an orange noose against a haunting blue sky. In its shadow a large head, nostalgic and powerless, reflects on the changing face of our agricultural landscape and its devastation at the hands of developers.

Davis’s work reflects the tension which  characterised much of the art of the nineties. Artists  demanded a voice, and the recognition of the contributions they have made in Barbados for the past fifty years.

JOHNNY WALKER GOLF IN JAMAICA

All eyes in the golfing world will be on Jamaica this December for the Johnny Walker World Championship, being held at the Tryall Club in Montego Bay for the second consecutive year. Twenty-eight of the world’s top players will compete for a record US$550,000 first prize in the $2.7 million championship.

The defending champion, Nick Faldo, automatically qualifies; so do the winners of the four “majors” and 20 other designated events around the world this year, along with three from the Sony Ranking. Already Faldo is facing ruthless competition from Greg Norman (British Open winner), Lee Janzen (US Open) and Bernhard Langer (US Masters), along with victorious players like Davis Love III, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Price, Paul Azinger, Peter Baker, Jesper Parnevik and Bradley Hughes. The World Championship is being held from December 16 to 19.

A NEW TRANSATLANTIC RACE

Come January, seasoned yachtsmen from around the globe will be taking part in a new race across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. The Mount Gay Atlantic Barbados Challenge will set off from the Canary Islands soon after the new year begins – the cruising division on January 3 and the racing division on January 5 – and all yachts are expected to finish the course in Barbados by January 27.

The event is being staged by the Barbados Yachting Association in conjunction with Mount Gay Distilleries and the Tourism Development Corporation, both of whom are sponsoring the race with the help of the Federation de Vela in Gran Canaria. The Barbadians have contracted Epic Ventures in England to manage and promote the race, which will be staged under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

The annual Mount Gay Regatta has been moved away from its usual Christmas date to the end of January (29-31) to allow the transatlantic yachts to take part. In the Canaries, a regatta over the Christmas and New Year holidays will give participants a chance to race against local boats before setting off for Barbados.

At least 40 yachts are expected to take part in the race, which aims to attract yachts interested in a fast crossing of the Atlantic for the start of the Caribbean circuit and needing maximum sailing time with minimum time away.

BARBADOS’S NEWEST ATTRACTION

There’s a new place to go in Barbados: Grenade Hall Forest and Signal Station at Farley Hill in St Peter. Over three years in the making, it is a sister to the nearby Barbados Wildlife Reserve. More than two kilometres of paved walkways meander among the forest; the focus is on the various uses of the trees, shrubs, vines and herbs, their medicinal properties and the way the forest works. User-friendly signs provide the answers to catchy little riddles like “What do you do when you hit rock balsam?”

Apart from making learning fun and painlessly demystifying the ecosystem, the forest is a triumph of reclamation – this used to be one of Barbados’s biggest illegal garbage dumps! The forest

has been preserved in its natural state as far as possible, and the reception and refreshment buildings make extensive use of recycled materials.

The early 19th-century Signal Station, until recently in ruins, has been faithfully restored to its original condition, and commands a spectacular view of the island from its outdoor observation deck more than 245 metres up. Crammed with memorabilia and artefacts, it offers an audio documentary tracing its history and functions. The tower contains two strategically placed telescopes focussed on two nearby sister stations which formed part of the network used to transmit vital information islandwide before the introduction of the telephone.

Grenade Hall Forest and Signal Station open daily. With the free-ranging animals of the Wildlife Reserve nearby, visitors can make a day of it. Both sites are projects of the Barbados Primate Research Centre directed by Canadian primatologist Jean Baulu.

Valene Jones