Dion Gibson

Bench Location: Barbados Trailway, Carmichael Crossing, St. George

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Dion Gibson

Dion Gibson is a Barbados born visual artist and graphic designer. He began his artistic venture in 1990, using a range of media from watercolours and pastels to acrylics, and since acquiring a Bachelors in Graphic Design, has begun a new journey into Digital Art rendering. Digital media exploration has gradually begun to affect & challenge his fine-art practice.

Acknowledged as having a way of capturing ‘the dramatic’ especially in his use of composition, Dion delights in the Surreal and is passionate about bringing dreams and visions to life. His concepts can be unconventional at times, carrying a futuristic value and a satisfying attention to detail. He will often times request a black canvas to get his work started.

Some of the artists that inspire him are Kervin Andre, Stanley Greaves, Timothy Parker and Salvador Dali.

Dion believes that art is a medium that has the capacity to challenge how we see the world and invariably affect how we relate , how we engage and how we live. Part of the role of art is to help others see what is possible. He is looking forward to widening his scope in the area of ‘Art as Activism.

About the ArtWork:

This piece tries to give solutions to Mental Health issues while taking a look at the effects of Covid, The Soufriere Volcano and Hurricane Elsa. It tries to communicate the unique emotions of each natural activity by drawing the connections towards men in society. In so doing, it draws the line between poorly managed or unresolved emotions in men, Mental Health and Suicide. The viewer is looking at 3 men who are at the beach. They are in the water up to their necks which represents the overwhelming nature of emotions that can easily create angst. The conflict is created because the beach and sea are ALSO outdoor experiences that provide peace, rest and relaxation. Here we are promoting the beach as a phenomenal solution for mental and emotional health.

Each of the men has a distinct symbol in the crown of their head. From Left: Covid, which was a  source of fear and apprehension (Fear as a key emotion that men tend to deny); an erupting Volcano, which symbolizes anger (Anger also as a key emotion negatively affecting young men across the nation); and A Hurricane which represent levels of confusion in men that can lead to anxiety and despair.

The tears seen on each man’s cheek are important, because society generally does not allow men to “Cry” which results in unhealthy pent up of emotions. Here we are letting men know that “it is okay to cry” (…allow your tears to be washed away by the sea.) There are 7 tears which represent the 7 suicides that occurred in Barbados from the beginning of Covid to now. (This number may be subject to correction).

The unsettling grin on the center figure’s face is intentional because the reoccurring confession of friends and family of suicide victims has repeatedly been that the victim “was smiling and happy” when they last saw them.

In the sky, cloud formations appeal to the engagement of four examples of outdoor activities to help manage emotions and foster clear thinking. Incidentally, cloud watching is also a healthy and creative mental outdoor activity that has been shunned because of our busy and distracting lifestyles.

Above each man’s head is the emotional symbol that is affecting them. They are placed in the clouds and not on the actual figures because men have the propensity to hide their true emotions for fear of looking weak.

The colour of the sea reflects the colour of each symbol. I want to convey the idea that a simple activity of visiting the beach has the capacity to ‘dilute’ or ‘dissolve’ the mental and emotional pressures of life.

The use of greenery and Hibiscus is to not only provide Barbadian context but the bright colours convey hope. I’m also suggesting that floral appreciation for men may have a subconscious impact that helps men relate to their softer/ emotional side.