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As most Caribbean islands now have a mixture of African, Asian, Middle Eastern and European heritage the resulting art is a hybrid of all of these diverse influences. Caribbean artists now combine and adapt all of these influences to create their own unique and distinct styles, but they also all share a unity in their art through their portrayal of the physical, social and cultural elements of the Caribbean environment. The following four artists are the perfect example of this fusion.

The Father of Caribbean Impressionism

The Caribbean island St. Martin is home to Sir Roland Richardson, the father of Caribbean Impressionism. Art students around the world know him for his mastery of multiple mediums.

Sir Roland Richardson: The Father of Caribbean Impressionism

The 19th century art movement Impressionism began in Paris and was concentrated on conveying the immediate visual impression of the world, utilising small but bold brush strokes, contrasts of colour, and ordinary or familiar subject matter. First criticized for being a naive and trivial approach to art, it spread around the world and influenced the development of other forms of media. Initially, the Impressionist style was seen to violate the traditional rules of painting.

They preferred free brush strokes over attention to specific details and definition and often painted en plein air (outdoors), a technique that captured the true effects of the sunlight and environment. Famous artists such as Monet, Renoir and Degas used Impressionism to capture moments of illumination with their artwork, and once its public perception changed other artists such as Gauguin, Van Gogh and Seurat followed.

Sir Roland Richardson, of St. Martin, is another prominent artist within the Impressionist movement. He is currently one of the Caribbean’s most respected artists and is someone who embodies the impressionist technique in all of his work and persona. While he maintains a ‘simple life of genuine focus’ and even at 68 years of age is still painting, his artwork receives international recognition for revealing ‘true symbols of the region’s beauty and rich culture’ and he is now considered a leading artist in the School of Caribbean Art. Using original oil, watercolour, pastel, charcoal, etching, engraving, woodcut and drypoint, his pieces are always created on location and are often of a living subject.

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