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CARIBBEAN COLOUR: VIVID VARIATIONS ON A THEME

May 25, 2003 – The annual Caribbean Colour art show, according to Claire Ochoa, a member of the sponsoring St. Thomas-St. John Arts Council, is a venue for "the budding artist as well as the most experienced artist" and "a way for those artists to give their own interpretations of what really defines 'Caribbean color.'"
Most residents probably have their own ideas as to what imagery most accurately represents the colorful spirit of the Caribbean. At the 15th annual Caribbean Colour show, now on exhibit at Port of $ale Mall on St. Thomas, it is local artists who engage in this debate, all of their pieces seeking to exemplify the theme, each through his or her own eyes and artistic talents.
Kendall Shoffner, for example, has been painting in the Virgin Islands for 23 years, but recently discovered an often-overlooked realm of Caribbean color. Through his diving experiences, he not only has found new inspiration in the brilliant colors of the undersea life but also has introduced his audience to a "world that they don't normally see," as illustrated in his piece "Queen Angelfish."
While idealized aspects of the island environment are most often presented on an "above the surface" level, Shoffner believes that it is this underwater haven which serves as the backbone of the community.
Vincent Roy Bambini, has a far different opinion. In his piece "Harbor Serenity," Bambini seeks to define a more classic sense of St. Thomas culture. He states that his work is "more about the aftermath … it's sensitive, like it's time for a book … it's the aftermath of a busy day." He incorporates panoramic harbor scenes into many of his works, because "cruise ships are such a vital part of our society."
In contrast, Edie Paljavcsik Johnson has concentrated on more tangible island elements in a piece titled "Bird Dancer" which combines her love of birds, musicians, dancers and triangles with an ethereal quality in order to accentuate the essence of the Virgin Islands. Her use of bright colors such as turquoise, orange and blue serves to echo the more vivacious undertones of the Caribbean environment.
The artists' many varying perspectives do not create an ambience of conflict. On the contrary, each fuses together with the others to form a quintessential, and thus more complete, definition of the "melting pot" that is the Virgin Islands — as well as providing the local audience with a diverse display of fine art.
Caribbean Colour is open to the public daily through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It features the 110 works by adult artists and by 51 by students. All works are available for purchase, with a portion of the selling price to benefit the not-for-profit, membership-based arts council.
"Thirteen pieces of artwork were added to collections on Sunday," Ochoa said, "and we look forward to more exposure for the entire week."
Following are this year's winners in the various judging categories:
Oil
1. Tony Romano, "Intangible Fusion"
2. Kimberly Boulon, "Moonlight Shell Seeking"
3. Bente Hirsh, "The Thinker"
Honorable mention: Susan Edwards, "Virgin Saint II"
Water media (watercolor and acrylic)
1. Edie Paljavscik Johnson, "Bird Dancer"
2. Bruce L. Shrallow, "Granny"
3. Pam Larsen, "Tuscany Geese"
Honorable mention: Charlene Kehoe, "Venice Sunset"
Three-dimensional (sculpture, found objects, clay, etc.)
1. Lynn Paccassi-Berry, "Fade to Blue"
2. Holland Van Gores, Untitled
3. Cheryl Miller, "Caribbean Politics"
Honorable mention: Barbara Weatherly, "Market Lady"
Everything Else
1. Kimberly Boulon, "Veiled Insecurity"
2. Joey de Martelly, "Fish"
3. Lisa Etre, "Fair Ladies"
4. A. Thody MacDonald, "Bright Robe"
Honorable mention: Stephanie Schoyer, "Gathering Bananas"
Honorable mention: Aimee Trayser, "Copper Landscape"
Student works
1. Darvin Charles, "Essence of Beauty"
2. Tony Bongiovi, "Mighty Ducks"
3. Dacia Samuel, "Wallow"
Honorable mention: Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Art Department, "Creative Collage"
Honorable mention: Tachelle Newton, "Fly Away"

The David O'Neill Excellence Award, which will go to the "people's choice" winner based on balloting by show visitors, will be announced at noon Saturday.

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