Amelia Rouse

Bus Shelter Location: Barclays Park, St. Andrew

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.

About the ArtWork:

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 do a similar thing when I go overseas, comparing the differences in plants between countries and climates but also just to get outside, breath fresh air and relax. 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.

The first piece illustrates a poem that many people on the island remember reciting on playgrounds when they were children. I couldn’t find the origin of the poem online with a quick search but there are many variations, some long and some short. The version I know is:

Early one morning in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys began to fight,
Back-to-back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot one another.
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came a shot those two dead boys.

The second piece illustrates a story I have heard many times from friends and family in Barbados, Trinidad and other Caribbean islands. There is always a fruit tree in someone’s backyard with ripe juicy fruit just out of reach. Parents always warn nimble children not to climb the trees because of various reasons, slipping, breaking branches etc. Someone’s mother even said, “if you break your two foots, don’t come running to me”. And of course, no one ever heeds the warnings. The reward of fruit is too enticing. In this illustration our friend climbed a breadfruit tree and is learning the consequences of his actions.