With much of the language of national development centred around catchphrases like, “the blue economy”, “the orange economy” or “creative industries”, one young Grenadian man is not waiting on any agency to give him a handout.
Gilbert started to paint on his own about 5 years ago, and has consistently produced beautifully rendered realistic work. His historic paintings of the old Carenage captured the imagination of collectors at home in Grenada and abroad.
Even during this restricted time because of the pandemic, the Grenada Arts Council (GAC) noticed his posts on Instagram, and has been following him with keen attention. The painting he recently did of Camerhogne Park was of particular interest, because it pointed out an injustice that was looming to the people of Grenada. It is the only green space with public access to the Grand Anse Beach that remains open to local people.
There had been rumours that a foreign investor would build a hotel on it, thus depriving Grenadians of their visual heritage. A group of concerned citizens have raised their voices in protest, and Gilbert’s quiet, lovely painting adds to the chorus.
The Grenada Arts Council has been collecting Grenadian art for many years, anticipating a day when there will be a permanent place for visual art of the nation to be saved and displayed for this and the next generation. Many successive governments have been implored for such a creative facility.
This past week, Gilbert’s painting was added to this collection, purchased from him by the Grenada Arts Council. Current president of the GAC Asher Mains said, “Gilbert’s work was noted, not only for his commitment to producing quality work, but also the intersection of the work within a local social, cultural, and historical context. Grenada Arts Council is proud and privileged to contribute to this artist’s journey as well as to preserve this work for a future where others can benefit from our own stories, well-told.”
Once again, we take this opportunity to remind the people of Petite Martinique, Carriacou, and Grenada that our heritage is our identity, and the support of this sector has tremendous potential economic benefit, directly to the livelihood of people.
Congratulations to Jarel Gilbert for using and developing his gift of creativity. You can follow him on Instagram at @paintgil.