The Fresh Milk Art Platform, Future Centre Trust, Environ Ltd (Adopt A Stop Barbados) and The Healing Arts Initiative in partnership with CULTURUNNERS as part of the World Health Organization are pleased to announce the Barbadian artists, selected by jury members across each participating entity, who will design new works to be incorporated into bus shelters placed in rural, underserved communities around the island.
Joshua Clarke, Versia Harris and Amelia Rouse will provide artwork for the bus shelters. Congratulations to the artists, and in early 2023 we look forward to launching all of the artworks from both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this collaborative venture!
Learn more about the artists and see previews of their proposed artworks below.
About Joshua Clarke:
Joshua Clarke is a graduate of the Barbados Community College with a BFA in Graphic Design. He has worked in game development as a character, environment and concept artist (Le Loupgarou), as sequential artist on graphic novels (Power in the Blood GreenBook Comics 2020) was a semifinalist in the Kingstoon Pitch Competition(Junkyard Dragon 2019) and is the winner of the first Black Celebration in the Future art contest(2020). A childhood spent reading has given him a lifelong love of storytelling and an inability to put the pencil down has drawn him inexorably to his career in illustration and concept art. A student of culture and history he attempts to capture that same joy and wonder of the stories that inspire him while ensuring representation of the fullness of Blackness in his work. His work shows a particular focus on Afrofuturism and Afrofantasy as he seeks to claim space of diasporic Afro Caribbean identity in the stories that shape our collective imagination.
Excerpt from his proposal for the bus shelter:
Afrofuturism, Solarpunk and Caribbean identity. These are the three pillars I hope to explore
and illustrate with the work. As a piece of public art that exists to be pored over repeatedly
I’d like to create a multilayered work that the viewer can find a bit of respite and enjoyment in
every time they see it anew … In the move toward resilience in the face of climate change education is vital, there are many facets to education but with illustration comes imagination, it’s one thing to conceive of implementation of green technology, it’s another to see it incorporated in a unique and appealing way – water tanks, reforestation, solar panels, wind turbines, vertical gardening etc. A visually dynamic piece that captures the embrace of potential for the possible. I myself have felt futility and despair as I think of a small island’s role in the face of climate change. Paying the debt to nature of an industrial world is a daunting one, and one need only watch the news to see the first signs of what’s to come. But we are still here, we are still alive, and while we live there are concrete steps we can take to prepare to survive and thrive in the face of what is to come.
About Versia Harris:
Barbadian artist Versia Harris received her BFA in Studio Art in 2012. She has done a number of residences in the Caribbean and North and South America and has exhibited in London, China, Nigeria, Moscow, Michigan and Aruba. She was awarded a Fulbright Laspau Scholarship in 2017 and received her MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan USA in May, 2019, where she also earned a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services New Beginnings Award. In 2022, Versia took part in Documenta15 with Alice Yard and exhibited in Grimmwelt Museum in Kassel, Germany. She continues to exhibit internationally, while teaching at The Barbados Community College.
Excerpt from her proposal for the bus shelter:
Human beings and nature are inextricably linked, as our well being and mental health is supported by the outdoors and green spaces. The pandemic and the volcanic eruption, that forced us indoors, darkened our lives and our skies, was inevitably going to create a sour period of time and recovery. The isolation caused by social distancing, left cold, many physical connections often taken for granted and the volcanic eruption exacerbated the separation by forcing us to close our windows … The work I am submitting for this project is about going through the layers and portals of the mind, that is also the mirror to the outer scape. A journey that can seem like turmoil, as if being in a hole deep in the earth, looking up at an unreachable sky, or being overwhelmed by a a great wave; to constantly look up and out for hope and light. What do we see and feel when we look up? What do we see when we look in. With what what eyes do we look out? I hope that my bench will be a place of wonder and refection for the sitters. To see the portals of their own mind reflected back at them as an invitation to stay reverent to the outdoors while connected to the call and lure of their mysterious inner worlds.
About Amelia Rouse:
Amelia Rouse is a self-taught artist from Barbados. Her practice incorporates drawing and digital collage. She likes to explore nature, humans, technology and urban decay in her art, and is inspired by sci-fi, surrealism, afrofuturism and life in Barbados by the sea.
Excerpt from her proposal for the bus shelter:
Although I have always loved the beach, swimming and diving, I enjoy hiking, parks and gardens and feel many persons around Barbados do too. I would like to spread my love for nature and the plants within it by combining nostalgic stories and ink illustrations. When I go hiking, I like to take as many pictures as possible of the plants and animals I see. But recently I have just been going out into my garden to take photos of trees, fruits, bees, anything in the natural world that interests me that day. I think documenting the nature around me helps me to engage with it more … I decided to illustrate two pieces, depicting in the outdoors using an old poem and a story I heard from several friends and my parents. To pay tribute to many tropical plants, fruit and flowers we enjoy here in Barbados, I collected references and took photos to use as part of the illustrations. I hope these pieces inspire persons of all ages to go outside more, hike, picnic and enjoy the benefits of Barbados flora and fauna.
ABOUT THE Project PARTNERS:
CULTURUNNERS produces cross-cultural campaigns, exhibitions and journeys, promoting peace-building & sustainable development through art. Launching at MIT in 2014, CULTURUNNERS’ first project was a multi-year artists’ road-trip broadcasting between the United States and the Middle East. It has since grown to encompass large-scale cultural exchange and diplomacy projects, an artist-led media platform, artists’ spaces and partnerships with institutions around the world.
Fresh Milk is an artist-led, non-profit organisation founded in 2011 and based in Barbados. It is a platform which supports excellence in the visual arts through residencies and programmes that provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for development, fostering a thriving art community.
Fresh Milk offers professional support to artists from the Caribbean and further afield and seeks to stimulate critical thinking in contemporary visual art. Its goal is to nurture artists, raise regional awareness about contemporary arts and provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for growth, excellence and success.
The Future Centre Trust is a non-governmental organisation focused on raising awareness of environmental impacts to Barbados and the planet with a vision to be “a catalyst for sustainable living today and tomorrow”. It is the main executing entity for the Barbados Trailway Project – a paved bicycle and pedestrian path located primarily on right-of-way lands of the former Barbados Railway.
This network of multi-purpose walking, hiking, running and cycling trails will provide year round recreational access for both locals and visitors, considerably expanding much needed public green space on the island.
For the past 25 years, Adopt A Stop has provided regional and international companies with a unique opportunity to display their products and services on bus shelters and benches in Barbados. The concept for Adopt A Stop was created by Barbadian Barney Gibbs while studying at Cambridge University. The project was then introduced to the island in 1993 as a socially-conscious way to provide a much-needed amenity. The priority was tropical designs constructed with local materials, placed at prime locations to give maximum impact.
The traveling public has embraced the project. The medium provides popular seating and shade for users; while increasing traffic rates mean drivers and passengers are frequently stopped in front of sponsor’s signage.