Letters

A Renaissance man

Dear Editor,

Many of us know Wendall Jones is a draftsman, journalist, entrepreneur, media magnate and social commentator. Through his art exhibition at the Central Bank, we see him as an artist.

Wendall is not a formally trained artist. He has God-given talent.

The works displayed show an impressionistic style, conveying mood through the interplay between light and color.

That someone not formally trained paints in an impressionistic style suggests that person has tremendous courage.

Impressionism conveys mood.

The artist lays bare his emotions for public scrutiny.

These paintings also convey a courageous man because, as anyone who has tried to paint knows, putting color on top of another color and next to another color requires technical knowledge and skill.

Paint does what it must. It is not a respecter of people.

The canvas, sometimes mercilessly, reveals all.

Also, the use of the paint brushes, the thickness and quality of the strokes, to capture mood or essence requires skill.

Jones has obviously spent hours mastering these skills. This is no surprise because, throughout his life, Jones has shown discipline and determination to master any arena into which he entered.

I think that the paintings capture the essence of The Bahamas and Bahamians, people whose indomitable free spirit cannot be caged.

In them I saw sunrise and sunset colors, various shades of our ocean and the plethora of colors of our flora and fauna.

I recall someone saying that impressionist art is like wine – a matter of taste. It’s wonderful to have with others a discussion about how a painting makes you feel or what you see in the painting.

These paintings evoke lively discussion.

I loved the works that were painted as a triptych but not displayed as such.

Although I saw women dancing in celebration, others may have seen something else.

The colors used made me wonder whether the woman/women were on a journey or whether they epitomized the progression of women over time.

The artist, maybe wisely, won’t say what he was feeling. Also, I thought that it was a good idea that they were painted so that they could stand alone, or as a triptych.

This first exhibition, at the Central Bank, a premier space to display Bahamian art, is a reason to celebrate Bahamians.

My grandmother, the late Meta Davis Cumberbatch, called the “Mother of the Arts in The Bahamas”, spoke unceasingly about the tremendous artistic talent and cultural richness of Bahamian people and The Bahamas.

We are gifted people, filled with artistic talent and cultural richness.

Jones’ exhibition of paintings that can hang in any collection alongside acclaimed Bahamian and international art is more evidence of this fact.

Jones for decades has found ways, including through books and “the Person of the Year”, to honor, celebrate and acknowledge Bahamians.

Is it now time for The Bahamas to honor him – a Renaissance man?

 

– Allyson Maynard-Gibson

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