Latest News from Antigua and Barbuda
AN ABUNDANCE OF ART
ANTIGUA, West Indies -- Life on Antigua is colorful. Locally worn fabrics are brilliant, red ginger and tropical orchids burst, and the blue sea and sky all meld together to form a very rich palette. Amid all this color, creativity seems to slip into Antiguan life unobtrusively. Dinner plates are hand painted, the headboards of beds are hand-carved from rich mahogany, and shell and bead jewelry are strung with expertise.
The arts and crafts on Antigua range from ethnic dolls, to steel and wood sculpture, pottery, photography, painting and scrimshaw (the ancient sailor’s folk art of carving on whales’ teeth or driftwood). Many establishments have been developed on the island to preserve and support the arts, including Island Arts, which was founded in 1987 and is Antigua’s leading exhibition center featuring local and Caribbean art.
Associated with Island Arts is perhaps Antigua’s most famous and talented artist, Nick Maley, known as ‘Yoda Guy.’ Maley, a key contributor to the creation of Yoda for the Hollywood blockbuster Star Wars, traded in his Ferrari for a boat and settled down in Antigua to become a permanent resident and prominent artist. Maley’s paintings reflect the calm, serenity and tropical spice of island living, as well as some occasional satire. Maley’s art is shown at Island Arts where visitors may purchase reproductions or his coveted originals.
For those looking to expand their horizons while on vacation, Harmony Hall, the Woods Gallery and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda provide a unique cultural experience. Harmony Hall, located in Brown's Bay at Nonsuch Bay, is the center of the Antiguan arts community. Visitors are welcome to mingle with artists and island residents at Woods Gallery’s opening night exhibition parties, held the first Friday of every month. Although exhibits change throughout the year, the annual highlights are the Antigua Artist's Exhibition and the Craft Fair, both held in November.
The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda is a charming oasis perfect for escaping the midday heat. The museum tells the story of Antigua and Barbuda from its geological birth up to its independence from Britain in 1981. It contains a variety of fascinating objects and exhibits, ranging from examples of the semiprecious stones (especially jade) found on Antigua, as well as models of sugar plantations, a life-size replica of an Arawak dwelling, and even the bat of Sir Viv Richards, one of the greatest cricket players of all time.
For an up close view of the creative juices that flow among Antiguans, mix with the locals on Friday and Saturday mornings by grabbing a cup of Antiguan coffee and touring the vibrant farmers market on the southern edge of St. John’s. Folk crafts, colorful tropical fruits, live chickens, and a buzzing crowd make for a lively morning.
The Art Café on Barbuda is the residence of the Claire Frank. Frank invites guests to relax on her breezy gallery porch, drinking freshly-ground Caribbean coffee while she creates authentic hand-painted, vibrantly colored silk pictures, cards and frames.
Travelers to Antigua can now take advantage of Delta Air Line’s direct service from Atlanta, GA on Saturdays and Wednesdays (log on to Delta.com to book). Non-stop flights to Antigua are also available when flying BWIA (from New York), Continental Airlines (from Newark, NJ) and US Airways (from Charlotte, NC).
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