Art in the blood  

You probably wouldn’t expect that after studying finance at university overseas, someone would return to Barbados and pursue a career in the arts.

And while it wasn’t the initial plan for Maurice Forde of Art Island Barbados, it turned out to be the path he stuck on. But with his father a craftsman and musician and his mother an artist it might not have been unexpected.

“I came back home six years ago and knocked around looking for work. Then, one day my dad told me, ‘try to paint’.  I was like ‘whatever’, but then I just happened to paint this painting and it sold. That is where the spark went off, where I saw it as something that I could do as a business,” he said.

Forde, known for his golfing acumen, attended Warner University in Florida on a gold scholarship.

He told Barbados TODAY that while some might frown on a move from a traditional career to one in the arts, he had great support from his family.

As he sat in his booth at the CARIFESTA Grand Market at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Forde said his father motivated him to take that path.

“He is not a painter but he does craft and stuff like that and he is a musician. After that push from him, it encouraged me to be where we are now. This is my full-time job. In the beginning, it was experimental, because at the end of the day you can rock back on the painting and go and find a job afterwards….Initially, that was the plan,” he explained, noting that while he was an optimistic individual, he did not think he would have been in this for this long.

“But it is in my family, it is in my blood.”

Forde’s medium of choice is acrylic on canvas.

He said his main aim is to ensure his clients are happy, and also to make his pieces look as real as possible.

“My pieces can take about three to four days a week to two weeks, depending on the subject. I don’t take long to paint. That is . . . because I really [cater] to persons who are visiting the island. So, if you are only here for a week or two and you want a painting, more than likely you will be able to get it from me before you leave. That is why I try to hone my skills within that time frame,” the artist said.

He has worked throughout the region, as well as in the United States and Canada, but Forde wants his work to be well-known even further afield.

“I would like to get my work worldwide, get people to know my name and also what I do offer, especially representing Barbados. But I would also like to create a style that is recognizable and create a brand that could develop into something that you can say ‘yeah, that’s a Maurice Forde’, yuh know? Because at the end of the day, all professional artists want that….So when I get to that point, that will be an achievement that I can check off my list,” he said.

As the Barbados TODAY team continued through the Grand Market, a stone’s throw away from Forde was his mother, Jacqueline Hinds, who also had her work on display.

Her artwork is a mixture of painting and wood and leather pyrography. Pyrography is the technique of decorating wood or leather by burning a design on the surface with a heated metallic point.

What stood out at her booth was a tribute to those Barbadians who worked on building the Panama Canal a century ago.

“This started about four years ago when I found out that both of my grandparents helped to build the Panama Canal. With that information, I really wanted to do something about it and share it with the rest of the society, so I started a Bachelor of Fine Arts course at the Barbados Community College, which I passed with honours, and I created a number of pieces based on the experiences and sacrifices of our people who would have worked and dedicated their lives to building that canal,” explained Hinds, an art teacher at the Frederick Smith Secondary School.

The collection which she has put together is comprised of more than 40 pieces. It ranges from a painting depicting the traditional male worker of the day in his Panama hat, along with the proprietress of a boarding establishment.

The signature painting is Sacrifice of the Worker in The Panama Canal.

“This pays tribute to the workers who would have lost their lives in the building of the canal. We focus a lot on the actual edifice, the locks, the canal, the fact that it brings in $5 billion to the economy in Panama. But I think the lives that were lost there are not really highlighted; it is unheralded, so I just want persons to know that they too should be remembered. Hence, the reason I have the skulls hanging from the sky, which is symbolic of their presence in the canal.

“You also have the persons who were working in the different occupations on both sides of the painting; and in the middle, we have my tribute to the ecosystem that was destroyed as a result of building the canal, because it was an area as big as Barbados that was flooded. This resulted in the biodiversity of the area being thrown upside down – the fish and wildlife and so on were displaced and lost and the Amerindians who were living there, their settlements were disrupted,” Hinds explained.

Source: by Ryan Gilkes

One Response to Art in the blood  

  1. Brenda Daniel August 27, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Well done Jackie, i am so very proud of you and your son too. It give me great joy to have been your art teacher at Ch.Ch. Foundation School. Keep the brush busy! Lov ya!


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