The Caribbean island of Saint Lucia ( St. Lucia) is rightfully considered to be one of the World’s most scenic destinations or as Oprah Winfrey put it, ” One of the 5 Places to see in a Lifetime “. Whether travelers are looking for the ultimate romance, the ultimate view or the ultimate Caribbean resort experiences, Saint Lucia has it all.
History buffs will delight in Saint Lucia’s amazing history, with the island changing hands between the French and the British no less than 14 times.
No wonder therefore that this island so rich in natural beauty and history gives plenty inspiration to both local and international artists, whether their focus is on literary or visual arts.
The literary front is led by Derek Walcott, poet laureate and Nobel Prize winner.
In painting and sculpture, the galleries on island showcase works by both formally and self- trained local Saint Lucian artists and also, works by international artists who have made St.Lucia their home.
No article about Saint Lucia art can exclude mention of such renowned St.Lucia artists like Dunstan St.Omer. He designed the St.Lucia National Flag. There are hundreds of Dunstan St. Omer Madonnas, murals and landscapes in churches, homes, businesses and institutions throughout St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean. Eudovic is the island’s foremost wood sculptor. Eudovic uses local woods for his abstract carvings, and since no two roots are the same, every single sculpture is unique and different. Llewellyn Xavier is another artist of international note who received his formal training in Fine Arts in the United States and invites art lovers to his home upon request.
Many resorts on island showcase interesting pieces of art and may also have some art for sale, but the biggest collection of local art and art by international artists inspired by Saint Lucia can be found at Anse Chastanet Resort in Soufriere.
Saint Lucia’s Anse Chastanet Resort enjoys a unique hillside- beachside setting in the most panoramic part of the island and has been called one of the World’s Most Romantic Resorts many times over. Amid this lush grandeur is one of the resort’s finest amenities, the Anse Chastanet art gallery that showcases a variety of select artwork including paintings, wood carvings and photography that focuses on local and Caribbean themes.
The gallery is reflective of the passion which resort owners Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy have for art . They have long been one of the island’s leading proponents of local artists and themes. In addition, Karolin Troubetzkoy’s many international artist friends have visited the resort regularly over the past 25 years to create works of art inspired by the resort and island, among them such notable names as Elvira Bach, Stefan Szczesny, Claude Sandoz, to name just a few.
The entire resort is a feast for art lovers : all rooms and common areas feature a wealth of original paintings and carvings which are key elements of the resort’s character and atmosphere.
The gallery itself is located on the beach above the resort’s Kai Belte Spa within earshot of the gentle Caribbean surf washing up on the soft sands below. As well as serving to the viewing delight of resort guests, all work within the gallery is for sale. Expert packing and shipping services are available. Biographical information on the various artists is offered to enhance the appreciation of the work.
While the Anse Chastanet gallery features work by a large number of artists including notables from Europe and America, a majority of the pieces were done by well known St.Lucians and Caribbeans at large . A majority of the wood carvings were done by one of Saint Lucia’s most renowned master carvers, Lawrence Deligny, who lives and works in the nearby countryside. Resort guests quickly become familiar with Deligny’s work as over the years he has been commissioned to do a great variety of pieces that decorate the property including the entire wooden railing going into the Treehouse restaurant as well as the carved frames around the paintings. The entrance into the bar area is dominated by Samson and Delilah, a very large work which took Deligny several years to carve; the majority of carvings, columns and sculptures in the resort’s guest rooms were created by Deligny as well. One of his sons, who was trained by his father, is now being recognized as a very talented wood carver in his own right.
Another very interesting artist whose work garners much attention in the gallery is Arnold Toulon. Born on the island of Dominica, Toulon received his art training in Jamaica before moving to Saint Lucia where he has lived for nearly two decades. In 1994 he gave up the use of the brush and started painting with used phone cards, then etching into the surface with an ice pick. Always expressive in his work, Toulon is known for his ability to keep coming up with new and innovative concepts always with strong use of line and
colour. His work hangs in many Caribbean corporate headquarters and he has done numerous exhibitions throughout the region, in America and in Europe.
Jonathan Gladding is another artist whose paintings are noted by island visitors for the emotional manner in which he captures the essence of Saint Lucia and its people. Born, raised and educated in America, Gladding has now adopted Saint Lucia as his home. After college he took a job as a computer artist for the very popular children’s television program, Sesame Street. Eventually, looking for new challenges, Gladding quit his job and became a Peace Corp volunteer and was sent to Saint Lucia’s east coast village of Laborie as a woodwork instructor. Having fallen in love with the island, when his stint with the Peach Corp was over Gladding chose to remain in Saint Lucia to devote all of his time to his painting with subject matter such as school children, fishermen and simple scenes of everyday Laborie life.
Another Saint Lucian artist featured at the gallery, as well as several places on the resort property, is Matthew Paul. Paul is from the west coast village of Anse La Raye and now has a home and studio in the mountains overlooking the nearby town of Soufriere. The Anse Chastanet gallery features Paul’s work in several different mediums including acrylic on canvas, decorative flower pots and hand painted calabash. He is known for his use of vivid colour in proudly presenting to the world the natural beauty of his island with subject matter that includes the Pitons, colourful coral reefs, birds, flowers and countryside scenes. Paul also has painted decorative wall murals around the resort’s beach restaurant and bar as well as ceiling murals in a number of the rooms.
The St.Lucia Rain Forest and plantation scenes are best captured by Ron Savory, an artist originating from Guyana and long term Saint Lucia resident. Chistopher Cox depicts the birds and the St.Lucia parrot in vivid precise shapes.
There is no doubt that Anse Chastanet offers much more than yet another Classic Caribbean hideaway experience. Tranquility, Romance , Adventure and …….Art ! To find out more about Anse Chastanet, call Tel 1-800-223-1108 or visit the resort website http://www.ansechastanet.com . Become an Anse Chastanet Facebook fan