Tag Archives: visual art

Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed Vll

This picks up where the previous Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (there was one, two, three, four, five , six – use the search feature to the right to dig them up if the links don’t work).  As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

“…what’s most intriguing is Dot Kid’s magnificently imaginative editorial photographs that capture the surreal and otherworldly in beautifully compelling ways.” – AfroPunk on the art of Antigua-Barbuda’s Dot Kid.


FWbook_cover_V10-1-766x1024‘What he left behind suggests that he is among the great visionaries of the late-20th and early 21st centuries. The sampling at the Armory is enough to immerse us in Walter’s world. His colors are beautiful, glowing, opaque primaries, pastel yellows, reds, blues, cream, and thalo greens. His touch is careful — he knows what he’s trying to depict; surfaces are scumbled, rough, and awkward, like his mind is moving faster than the brush — his hand trying to keep up, get it all down. He also paints foggy or iridescent washes with tissue-like attention to changes of brush direction. It’s impossible when looking at his work not to sometimes think of modern artists like Cocteau, Picasso, and Kandinsky, as well as contemporary artists like Chris Ofili, Peter Doig, Chris Martin, Nicole Eisenman, even Mary Heilmann. A startlingly abstract image of geometrically divided stars within faceted, colored circles instantly suggests the visionary greatness of my all-time favorite American 20th-century painter, Marsden Hartley. Indeed, Walter gives the work a title that Hartley would have understood: “Psycho Geometries.” We see jet-black faces that recall Kerry James Marshall. There are strange Whistler-like nocturnal scenes of seasides and waves. A mystical series titled “Meditative Patterns” pictures dot-patterns of crowns, hearts, birds, spiderwebs, and petroglyphs.’  – Vulture.com in a piece entitled Antiguan Master Frank Walter is a Revelation at ADAA


“In her debut collection of poetry, Marilyn Sargeant, a contemplative and introspective writer, as well as light-hearted and playful in her verses, presents her readers with both narrative and lyrical poetry that is innocent and explorative, as well as dark and brooding—touching upon topics which have stood the test of time in their truth and importance for contemporary audiences.” – Anna Grace, B.A.H. Eng. Lit., M.Ed.


“Dolphin the Arctic seal is a playful, adorable seal who easily gets distracted and “day-dreamy.” Thanks to his wandering mind, he’s about to go on a very big adventure, and young readers will love following along to see what happens.” – The Feathered Quill reviews Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure


“Joanne Hillhouse is a powerful writer, raising questions directly and with great energy.” – Literary Hub’s 10 Female Caribbean Authors You Should Know (and Add to Your American Lit Syllabus)


“Written in Hillhouse’s strong poetic voice, With Grace spins a magic-laden story of the universal battle between good and evil. But it is far from ordinary. An involved tale, With Grace takes the reader on a series of twists and turns as Hillhouse explores the limits of human capacity for tolerance and meanness.” – read the full review by children’s book author and publisher Carol Mitchell


Lost books“Children will likely relate well to this story of getting lost while daydreaming and to the reassurance that kindly adults will look after strays. The book also gives them a chance to learn more about the work of environmentalists and Caribbean sea life.

An appealing book, all the more so for being based on real life.” – Kirkus Reviews on Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure


Re Dorbrene O’Marde’s play This World Spin One Way:


“Dorbrene O’Marde’s best written play, and probably the best play written by an Antiguan….” – Tim Hector

“…really good. Everyone should go. It was a combination of funny and sad. A must see!” – The Daily News (St. Thomas)

“…subtle and well-suited to the universal themes of the ups and downs of love affairs… The two main characters (played by Alvin G. Edwards and Zeinab C. Sekai) created plentiful tension that kept the audience hanging on to their every word, wondering how it would all turn out. They made sparks fly” – The Dominica Online Review

“(This World Spin One Way is) about very intimate human relations, disappointments – finding oneself…..it is about the choices people make in life. I am interested in the discussions after people see the play. It will make everyone reflect on their life.’ – Jean Small of the University of the West Indies School of Drama who directed the St. Thomas version

“(This World Spin One Way) is a wonderful source of entertainment that laudably raises important issues from the Caribbean perspective’. She suggests that ‘O’Marde writes to validate the unique aspects of social behaviour in the Caribbean including not only intimate relationships but also the exercise of authority.’ – Drama critic Barbara Twine Thomas

“(This World Spin One Way explores) complex relationships between men and women that permeate life in our islands. It is thought provoking….you’ll find yourself flashing-back to O’Marde’s drama in days to come.” – David Edgecombe – who produced the first version of this play and directed the second

“There were some very powerful scenes in this play….the audience ate them up. The artists’ creative juices blend in a most delightful, funny and provocative play. It will surely prompt discussions among those who were fortunate enough to see it during its short run here.” – Dorrett Phipps/Night Crawler

“While there was considerable sexual overtone in the play, I found it subtle and well-suited to the universal themes of the ups and downs of love affairs …as well as betrayal, misunderstandings and nostalgia about past relationships.  The two main characters created, These two main characters … (made) sparks fly easily (and) … created plentiful tension that kept the audience hanging on to their every word, wondering how it would all turn out.” – Ti Domnik Tales commenting on the 2014 staging in Dominica where the main characters were played by Alvin G Edwards and
Zenaib C. Sekai

“Good play, well written play, well directed play, well-staged play (for the most part), good performances all around but especially so that of Dr. Alvin Edwards, not because his character was likeable, he often wasn’t, but because he so successfully made him human.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse for Wadadli Pen


Time to Talk “You don’t have to be a cricket fan to enjoy Curtly Ambrose’s Time to Talk.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse (exclusive to Wadadli Pen) 


“O’Marde’s first book after a well-established reputation as a playwright, the fictional book Send out you Hand, was weighted and slow by comparison – exposition heavy, the characters too often coming across as mouthpieces for the writer’s intellectual concerns rather than fully drawn people.

In Nobody, O’Marde invests more successfully in the characterization and humanization of his subjects, making them (Short Shirt, Short Shirt’s writers, and, in fact, calypso, more relatable, complex, and interesting) while at the same time tying them all, Short Shirt and calypso especially, in to the larger cultural and societal shift.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Dorbrene O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books


untitledn“I found the last story, the most domestic of the stories, dealing with a mother’s death and its impact on her family, to be, strangely enough, the most interesting of the three. This story, Chasing Horses, love that title, is also included in the new anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan writing, So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End, edited by Althea Prince.  I did wonder, what it might have sounded like from a single perspective like the story of the Governor’s wife kidnapped by the Kalinago and then exiled by her husband or the progressive Bishop trying to build a church community in a socially and racially divided island, instead of shifting from point of view to point of view. I enjoyed and empathized with the other children’s voices, yes. But, as the reader I was particularly interested in how Irene, the oldest daughter whose life was most transformed by her mother’s death, was processing the changes in her life. I felt that sticking with her perspective could have sharpened the thematic focus with respect to what it was like for girls then when it came to the intersection of family obligation and personal ambition.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Barbara Arrindell’s The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen


“This book is also interesting, as noted, for the insight it offers to the immigrant experience.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse’s review of Althea Romeo-Mark’s If the Dust Would Settle, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen





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The Art of Design

21231750_10214197102507537_5084057354635053102_nI’ll admit that this contest wasn’t really on my radar before and it only is this year because my niece emerged as the winner. In any case, it’s in step with some of what we do here, share and celebrate young Antiguans and Barbudans doing creative things; so I thought this was an appropriate platform to share. Per coverage in the local press, Nicoya Henry (in black and braids, 2nd from right in the top image) has emerged winner, from a field of nine, of the 2017 Courts Fashionista Competition.

“In a release from Courts, the furniture store said the event was conceptualized with the primary purpose of improving and developing the talent of our youth.” – from the Daily Observer, September 1st 2017

Growing up, Nicoya’s love of fashion and modelling ran alongside her love of art and design – she’s modelled on local, regional, and international runaways and she’s won visual art competitions like St. Anthony’s Sidewalk Art Festival. In recent years, her love of art has found expression through fashion – she’s performed well in the fashiontastic design competition (and in fact, runners-up in this contest, Shem Henry and Shirrine Gillon, are names I first came to know at Fashiontastic), organizes and promotes a fashion event called Fashion Formation, and gets her side hustle on creating clothing. So, the evolution continues with her win of the Courts competition.

It was a very Project Runway type of competition in spirit – right down to competitors getting a stipend to purchase material needed to create their designs (the equivalent of having access to that store they do on the show) and designing in response to a unique, shall we say, challenge. As Nicoya explained it to me, contestants had to do a design based on a Courts product (for those who don’t know, Courts is a furniture store). This was her item:


This was her drawing: 21325878_10154959746868481_638764358_n

And this is the final design on the runway:21361156_10154959704348481_5524166_n

She walked with EC$2500 and the title, and said in the post-interview: “I feel very, very great that I won. I put in a lot of hard work, and it wasn’t easy breaking those mirrors. Right now, I still have splinters in my fingers, but it has paid off.” – from the Daily Observer, September 4th 2017

Cool, right?

To quote an audience member quoted in the paper “Our people have talent and I believe they can compete on any stage around the world.” – from the Daily Observer, September 4th 2017



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, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, With Grace, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Do not re-use content without permission and credit. 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.



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Keepsake – Edison Arts Camp

Edison Liburd donated two scholarships to his summer arts camp to the Wadadli Pen prize package in 2011. Pictured are participants in the first installment of the camp including, front row centre, Freya Platts-Costeloe, second runner up in the Wadadli Pen 2011 visual art challenge. Freya shows enormous potential as an artist and we congratulate and encourage her.

photo courtesy Trip Antigua.

To see Freya’s Winning image go here. And, as Edison just reminded me the exhibition of work from the second installment of his camp takes place Friday 22nd July between 12 and 5 p.m. at his gallery upstairs the Best of Books.

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Art comp flyer

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Filed under Wadadli Pen 2011