Wadadli Pen is about helping to develop the creative arts – helping to give young people in Antigua and Barbuda an avenue to build and share their skills. Where it takes them is up to them but we believe that we can be part of that foundation from which they can build a creative mind and maybe even a career in the creative arts.
We have nothing at all to do with the development of Zavian Archibald – all credit instead to her folks, her teachers, the Antigua Sailing Week signboard competition and the International Olympic Committee Art Contest (both of which she shined in), the Savannah College of Art and Design and other factors that played a role in her evolution.
But having come across an article about her on Carib Arena, I was struck by these words: “I think if children are encouraged to embrace their creativity from very early, then that would change the perspective from which art is viewed by many islanders…developing skills in art is not just about training your eyes and hands; it’s also about training your mind to think of creative solutions. Being able to think creatively is of value to all subject areas.”
This! is what we’ve been saying and saying. So Zavian, a former National Youth Award winner for art by the way, echoes our thoughts most beautifully. Thrilled to spotlight this Antiguan and Barbudan artist.
And not just because she’s the one tapped by Pearson Education to illustrate my forthcoming children’s book. I’m not telling tales out of school, am I? I can only say that I’ve seen the illustrations
and I am thrilled with her interpretation of the scenes and characters. That she’s working on this book, by the way, brings to mind another quote from her interview: “…be open-minded and don’t limit yourself to any one avenue… However, I believe that a person should hold on to what they are most passionate about as this is what fuels everything else.”
POST NOTE: You know, this picture book Zavian and I worked on together came from a children’s book that’s been sitting on my hard drive for a loooong time. I remember speaking with her years ago when I first wrote it. This is before she even went off to college. There was an image of hers that I saw at an art show that made me think she was the ideal candidate to illustrate the particular world of the story. But neither of us had any idea really how to get it published and we were both busy with other things. Fast forward to a year or so ago and a call from Pearson for children’s stories, and me submitting the only children’s story I had. Pearson liked it and a couple of editors and a reading specialist later, it’s set to hit the market sometime in 2013. When they started discussing art, I recommended a few artists (really wanting them to use a Caribbean artist). It feels like serendipity that they selected Zavian, the one artist in the bunch with whom I had discussed the book years earlier (they didn’t know that). Looking at the proofs, I was right all those years ago…she really was the ideal choice for this particular project.
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.