‘Virgin Islands Contemporary’ Exhibit Opens Friday at Cane Roots Art Gallery in Christiansted

“Afrocentric Female” by Lucien Downes. (Submitted photo)

Cane Roots Art Gallery on Company Street in downtown Christiansted will open its doors Friday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. when the synergy of Virgin Islands contemporary artists Lucien Downes and Augustin Kelvin Holder come together at its opening reception.

DNA, biology, spirituality, expressionism, worldly, freedom, moods, and movement are some

St. Croix artist Lucien Downes.(Submitted photo)

of the elements that both artists embrace as the driving forces behind their creativity. It is their soul that they leave on their canvases. It is their spirit in the paintings hung on the walls of the gallery. Their creativity comes from within, Holder and Downes both express.

St. Thomas artist Augustin Kelvin Holder.
(Submitted photo)

Gallery owner Sonia Deane felt those expressions of creativity when she decided to plan an exhibit with Downes and Holder. The bold colors, the wide expanse of canvas, and their fearlessness in sharing their heart’s desire to patrons who might envision it as something completely different was a strong pull for Deane, she said.

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Downes is a Caribbean-born artist and curator. His work demonstrates freedom of thought and expression through mixed media and is composed of spiritual and worldly elements that function independently at times or merge to encompass a whole. He uses resin, acrylic, raw pigments, plexiglass, specialty papers, and sometimes found objects to create multi-dimensional art pieces that demonstrate movement and depth. “I create my work to bring a contemporary feel to everyday subjects.

Downes will show, among others, the piece, “Afrocentric Female.” “She is the embodiment of a powerful Black woman whose style and grace knows no bounds, but she is still soft enough to be loving and caring. She is Wombman.”

“Mr. Nocturnal” by Augustin Kelvin Holder. (Submitted photo)

Holder recently exhibited his work, “Intrepid Journey,” at 81C Gallery on St. Thomas. “My artwork is a juxtaposition of the unconscious and conscious mind. Painting in layers allows me to embrace the freedom that is associated with the Abstract Expressionist Movement.” Holder has been painting for a very long time. “Art and the humanities have always been part of my frame of reference.” For Holder, art is a medium that tells a story of intrigue and of shifting landscapes and deals with decoding algorithms.

“Mr. Nocturnal’ is the image of a person that Holder saw and experienced on a full moon night back in 2016. “This character represents hope, guidance, strength and inspiration. He might look a little intimidating, but he is my guardian angel. I didn’t run from it. I embraced him.” Holder has since painted this image on other canvases, much to the delight of his patrons, he said.

Cane Roots Art Gallery will adhere to the CDC guidelines at the opening reception with mask-wearing and social distancing.

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