Llewellyn Xavier, Saint Lucia’s pre-eminent artist, was born on the island in 1945. In 1961, he was working as an agricultural apprentice when a friend gave him a box of watercolour paints. This event marked the beginning of Xavier’s lifelong passion for using art to express his view of the world around him, and he went on to hone his talent at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. Xavier’s work has taken him from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada where he gained a significant following and where his work has become a part of both public and private collections.
In 2004, Llewellyn Xavier was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition for his contribution to art. He is also a founding member of the Saint Lucia Environment Development Awareness Council and a life member of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
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Llewellyn Xavier devotes much of his energy to oil paintings created using a technique he has refined over forty years. Known for their luminous colours that reflect the light and life of the Caribbean, his paintings are prized by a loyal following of collectors and by visitors to Saint Lucia alike.
In 1993, Xavier’s intense concern for the environment led to his masterpiece, Global Council for Restoration of the Earth’s Environment, which had its world premier at Patrick Cramer Gallery in Geneva, Switzerland in May of that year. The work incorporated recycled materials, 18th- and 19th-century prints of birds, animals, fish and plants, many of them now extinct, and postage stamps from around the world, as well as the signatures of world environmental leaders and conservationists.
This seminal environmental work was followed by Environment Fragile, a series comprised of recycled cardboard, near-empty paint cans, and shards of 24-carat gold. These materials work together to represent the devastation on the natural environment and the high cost its destruction will bring to humankind. Environment Fragile was featured on a series of four stamps issued by the Saint Lucia Post Office in 2006.
In addition to oil paintings and these collage-based installations, Llewellyn Xavier’s oeuvre includes drawings, watercolors and mixed-media works.
Exhibition 14 January – 14 February
450 Park Avenue, New York (map)
Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm
Phillips opens its 2016 season with Blue Ocean Sanctuary, Llewellyn Xavier’s first large-scale exhibition in New York. Comprised of twenty works spanning the years 2000 to 2015, the exhibition embodies the colour, texture, beauty and light of the Caribbean and celebrates the significant influence of the rich culture and heritage of the island of St Lucia.
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Farmington Hills: Gale
Cummins, A. and Thompson, A. (1999) Art in Barbados: Ian Randle
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