Talented Self-Taught Creative

Barbados is an island steeped in culture, its roots stem from slavery and its people are prone to remember days of old. Remnants of a time past can be seen in the architecture and ruins found round and about the island. Folklore is passed on from generation to generation through oral storytelling and music. It is also transmitted through art, art that depicts the country of old. Omowale Stewart is one such artist who delves into the culture of the country, his early artwork portrays Barbados as it was, a reminder to all of where the country came from; painted tokens of the island’s rich historical past.

Omowale has remained a steadfast proponent of culture and has made it his life’s work to remain true to his artistic style throughout the years. Though he has dabbled in a variety of media ranging from oil paints to sketches, his work is always a true and pure representation of the island as he sees it. His mind conjures up images so vivid that viewers can't help but be entranced by them, they are magnificent. The surrealness of his work draws the onlooker in and hits them with a burst of Barbadian flavour that can’t be found anywhere else or from any other artist in the world.

His career began in 1972 when he began illustrating and painting beautiful works. It is important to note that he is a self-taught artist with no formal training, all he offers is raw talent! Founder of ‘De Peoples Art Movement,’ he created an association that steered artists away from the ‘conventional’ way of creating art, exposing them to new and innovative ways to transmit their ideas and their talents. This undertaking was only the beginning for him. Throughout the years, he has taken his art from level to level, increasing his skills by leaps and bounds. As a result of this, his works have been the focal point of many exhibitions both in the local arena and abroad. He has been exhibited in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. This shows how successful he is, he grew from a local artist to an internationally renowned one.

His work is not only limited to canvasses or sketchbooks but stretches beyond the confines of a small portrait or paper. He is well known for painting some of the most awe-inspiring murals that can be found around the island. Most notable was the one located at Wildey on the walls of the Cable and Wireless building. Many notable persons within the Barbadian society have also commissioned his works, the Right Honourable, Errol Walton Barrow, who was the first Prime Minister of the country ordered his very own custom painted piece. His was the first of many to be commissioned.

It is important to note that Omowale’s talents are not only paper and paint based but he is also an extremely talented costume designer as well. For many years he has created some of the most beautiful costumes, filled with vibrant colours and a variety of mixed media which stun both revellers and judges during the yearly Crop Over Festival. His artistic aptitude extends to everything creative and his excellence shines through every project he attempts.

The capacity of Omowale’s creativity is one to be revered. His paintings which are often depictions of ‘woman’ drive viewers into seeing the female body and persona as beautiful and strong. His work is often bold, he is daring in the pieces he paints and in the colours he uses. He is unafraid to bare his ingenious soul freely for all to see and marvel at. Omowale’s passion for his art and the transference of it into physical form is seen clearly as he creates. His costumes are effervescent and so is everything he crafts. His passion can be seen in everything he does and it conveys a positive feeling to all who view them.