Turks and Caicos is a fantastic work of natural art, seemingly designed and constructed by a team of gods that understand and appreciate the beauty of harmonics. It’s as if the entire landscape is touched by a hand of pure vibrancy that left its energetic imprint on the islands. It’s a magic place, radiant in its core as if the islands possess their own heart that expresses its love through the palm fronds and the people and the passion. What we’re trying to say here, is that Turks and Caicos is abundant with art in all forms. And your vacation may just take on a quality of art, as well; with the proper awareness. You too can live your life like a work of art, your finest masterpiece being continuously created one day at a time.
Caribbean art is marked by thousands of years of habitation by the Taíno and Arawak peoples (along with other indigenous groups) and the influence of European and African immigration waves bringing their unique artistic heritage to the islands in a melting pot of styles and techniques. The original native art was expressed through stone carvings, figurines, and pottery. Since the colonial period (from Christopher Columbus’ arrival in 1496), the original native art had mostly been in a form of hibernation until the 1950s when it began to be resurrected and reinvented. Colonial art (mostly Spanish art in many places) took over as the local population was rapidly depleted. However, the Caribbean in the Colonial era was mostly void of local art production in any of the islands (except for Haiti) other than the occasional visiting European.
Today, though, the Caribbean features a highly active and critically acclaimed art community. Being such a diverse region with many separate yet interconnected cultures each composed of varying ethnic backgrounds, it’s difficult to pinpoint specific national styles. Instead of Turks and Caicos art, then, it’s usually just considered part of Caribbean art in general. There is however a distinct counterculture movement of a return to national roots and heritage, moving away from European stylistic trends towards spiritual movements like Santeria and Voodoo. Engaging with the cultural past, modern art embraces a cultural memory defined by change and a history that is yet to be resolved. Some contemporary artists are fusing postmodernism with the unique Caribbean experience, resulting in some stunning works of art that help both locals and visitors better understand just what life is all about in the islands.
In Turks and Caicos, oil and watercolours are the two most widely used techniques. Influenced by the vivid colours and styles of neighbouring Dominican Republic and Haiti, culture is being captured on canvas in wonderful ways. Ancient art forms are being produced as well, including basket weaving, plaiting palm trees for straw hats, and bowl making. These ancient forms all once served practical purposes done with artful style and are now preserved as important parts of culture to be passed onto future generations and shared with visitors.
When you’re visiting Turks and Caicos, chances are you’ll feel inspired to create. It has that effect on people. And whether you consider yourself an artist or not, there’s an artist inside us all. Sometimes it just needs the right environment and set of circumstances to reveal itself. It’s as if the natural beauty is channelled through the artist to create life itself, which is the purpose for the Universe. The Caribbean articulates itself through the people in expressions of paintings, dance, music, and the art of living. It’s a soul-stirring practice in how to live, an experience that you can return home with. Aside from the intangible assets you acquire on your vacation, you can also bring back some pieces of local and indigenous artists that you buy from the many excellent galleries in Turks and Caicos. A few of the best galleries include the following.
This gallery located in the heart of the shopping strip on Grace Bay, Providenciales features beautiful artwork, including unique and interesting jewellery, awe-inspiring paintings, gifts and home decor. Showcasing local artists and a diverse range of talents, ArtProvo carries a comprehensive collection of prints, ceramics, hand-crafted jewelry and unique art glass pieces. Turks and Caicos Crafts are well represented with conch shell items, fanner baskets, dolls, sea glass jewelry, Salt Cay salts and Coconut Oil Products. Scented soaps, candles, picture frames and shell napkin rings are just some of the many gifts items stocked in this light filled gallery. Which treasure to bring home will be your only difficult decision of the day.
Anna Bourne has lived in Turks and Caicos for 20 years and creates beautiful art that “captures the ahhh moment of standing humbly before the sea. Inspired by many different aspects such as the vibrant natural colours of the islands, she works in many mediums including silks (for which she is best known), watercolour, acrylic, oil, conte crayon, glass, and jewellery. She also features many other local artists at her gallery – a veritable treasure cove of perception- and emotion-altering works at affordable prices.
Turks and Caicos Paintings
Accomplished artist Lise Thompson has lived on Provo for over 40 years and understands the natural beauty well – and how to channel it into brilliant works of art. She captures the spirit of the islands and brings forth a variety of picturesque scenes filled with vivid and dramatic imagery. Her art evocatively translates the serenity and vitality of this Caribbean paradise into something you can bring home and hang on your wall.
Fisherman Marine Art
Local fisherman Stanford Handfield creates glorious souvenirs using the natural resources of Turks and Caicos: namely, conch shells. Stanford free dives for conch shells and manipulates them to create beautiful and useful works of art. Purchase polished and glimmering shells as they are or in such artistic forms as conch shell night lights, conch shell napkin holders, conch bowls, conch flower planters, conch shell fish, and conch shell soda glasses. He does great work producing truly one-of-a-kind gifts to bring home from your vacation.
Another excellent way to experience the arts of Turks and Caicos is to set up a photo-shoot with Paradise Photography. Capture your favourite moments of your vacation with the help of a masterful professional who will create dynamic and spontaneous seeming photographs to memorialize your trip of a lifetime.