Café Soleil, Bar and Art Centre officially opens
June 11, 2013

Café Soleil, Bar and Art Centre officially opens

An exciting buzz of conversation filled the air as guests perused the mesmerizing maze of Caribbean art that hung on almost every wall at the official opening of Café Soleil, Bar and Art Centre, located at Frenches, on May 31.{{more}}

Proprietor of Café Soleil, Eloise Gonsalves, had announced in May that the popular eatery will join her interior design store, Caribbean Lifestyles, at its main branch at Frenches.

She had revealed that the café will be a part of a unique twist, where it will double as an art centre for Caribbean artists to showcase their masterpieces.

On the night of the opening, pieces from Vincentian, Cuban and Mexican artists were on display for the art lovers.

Vincentian artist Ayana Baisden feels that the art centre is a stepping stone on the path to the evolution of art in St Vincent.

Baisden, who teaches Visual Art at the St Vincent Grammar School, exhibited a variety of pieces last Friday, both large and small.

“The miniatures I make for people to be able to keep a piece in their house or on their desk…so that they can experience a little joy in their day, an escape,” she explained.

The talented artist believes that people in St Vincent “have the raw talent. We just need to start pushing it”.

One of the Baisden’s larger and more inspiring pieces, an abstract painting that is realistically modern, with the interpenetrations of life and art, has already been sold.

“I know the Vincentian public is more into realism; I try to pull in realism with abstract, so that it’s not hard for them to accept,” Baisden said about her aesthetic.

Stimulating thought and creating an impression on viewers is what Ricardo de Armas Rodriguez seeks to do through his work.

In his recent work, the Cuban artist, who has been painting for approximately 10 years, mixes history with everyday visuals.

“The main idea…is to give Vincentians an idea of something that can actually come out of painting. Something that can be so real and natural. Make it feel like yours; it’s there for you,” Rodriguez explained through an interpreter.

His idea is brilliantly portrayed in his painting of the picturesque view of the Indian Bay beach and Young Island, from the Grand View Hotel, with an imaginary cannon sitting on a grassy incline that overlooks the scene, to add the historical factor.

Former Minister of Culture Rene Baptiste told SEARCHLIGHT that the art centre is long overdue and is more than welcome by the art community in the country.

“It is in fact like having an art gallery in the city. It is so important, not only just for art exhibitions, but also for people to get an understanding and a love for art,” she said.

Baptiste, who recently presented the final draft for a cultural policy, encouraged persons to visit the centre, where she feels that they can gain an appreciation for and understanding of art.

Referencing Vincentian artist Calvert Jones’ vivid portrait of national hero Joseph Chatoyer, the former minister shared her interpretation of what she saw transcending on the broad canvas.

“I can empathize with expression, like the expression of Joseph Chatoyer’s face; I am a fierce leader, warrior. I am a lion at heart, and behind that lion, we see a caring man and a man with a deep love and sympathy and sadness,” Baptiste said passionately.

“We have this idea that art is drawing, but we don’t understand the different mediums of painting…the different types of expression in painting and sculpting”.

The Kingstown branch of Café Soleil will slowly make its transition to its new home in Frenches, but will continue to operate in its Kingstown location until the carnival season is over.