Top 10 artists of the year
This was a hell of a year! I realised that I have accomplished everything I wanted to do 🔥 and I certainly hope the same for you, wherever you are and whatever you do. I am now looking forward to developing and growing where I am, making the most of what I know and am able to do.
To celebrate this end of year, I wanted to select 10 artists that really stuck with me this year, some I have met, some I have interviewed, some we have just briefly talked, but I was so glad to discover them.
Working with no easel Che Lovelace, painter from Trinidad and Tobago, likes to apply gestural and impulsive brush strokes on his painting. The breaking off panels gives different dimensions and stories to the painting but also an entirely new rhythm. I discovered Che Lovelace last year and couldn’t be happier to see the incredible development of his work, recently joining the NY gallery Nicola Vassell and participating to Untitled Miami. I cannot wait to see what is coming next.
Firelei Baèz is so refreshing and impressive, but also eye opening to see such deep subjects interpreted in the art. I love the colours depicted on beautiful illustration or massive piece of art and sculpture that the artist is able to put together. Báez has become one of the most influential artists of her generation. Her practice, which has a decidedly activist component, challenges dominant narratives of the Caribbean’s culture, history and its people. She revisits and re-presents inherited stories and identities, treating them as in a state of flux. By superimposing fresh new images filled with meaning on top of often flawed historical documents and maps, Báez promotes agency in the telling of the Caribbean story by Caribbean people.
The deep colours of Lewinale Havette and the gaze of her characters is what attracted me first. I love the dark blue and the bright colours together, the mix of medias to result in a fantastic oeuvre that mesmerise your eyes and takes you into fantastical world with the artist. By incorporating photography, drawing and painting into her work Lewinale creates strong and colourful pieces, often transporting us into ethereal worlds. She practices her art as a self-exploration and centres her subject matter on the representation of Black women, challenging the White male construct of the art world. It was funny to first meeting online and then in NY during a fair. Working and being represented by Cierra Britton in NY, She is today developing and exploring oil on canvas which turn to be as beautiful as her mix media works. I am very curious to see what is coming.
Nadia Waheed’s beautiful paintings explores a world within herself, representing different sides of her personality through different coloured-skin characters, emphasising the impact our relationship with ourselves has on us and others. Shamelessly painting naked portrait of herself, Nadia Waheed says this is the most honest way she can do it. Her figures stand powerful, resisting exoticistation and oversexualization of women's body. I discovered her work while working with her at the Gallery I am currently working with and I am still impressed and mesmerised by the incredible beauty and depth of her work and their meaning.
I had the chance to first meet Kay Gasei at The Other Art Fair and talk about his art before acquiring one piece. Exploring myths and developing them into his own narrative, Kay Gasei delivers his message into abstract and surreal imagery, but also tapping into figurative in his illustrations. His style is unique where details is the key, every works never disappoints and almost always brings a surprise. These artists I have interviewed most of them, I have admired their works for a long time and finally got in touch to understand them more. I have seen them developping and working hard. I love seeing artists evolving and working towards something that will definitely work for them.
Born in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1980, she is a multidisciplinary artist today living and working in Scotland. She works beautifully with different media: paintings, drawings, textile and video performance. I have seen her work in New York, with Nicolla Vassell Gallery in New York this year and was so impressed by her work and subject matter on Caribbean identity. Whittle has exhibited and performed in various solo and group shows around the UK and internationally. Her work has been acquired for the UK National Collections, The Scottish National Gallery Collections, or the Glasgow Museums Collections. She represented Scotland at the 59th Venice Biennale 2022.
A free spirit, Katasha Rose is a British-Jamaican painter, born in Jamaica and today based in London, UK. The particularity of her works resides in her dual style practice, abstract and figurative, which I am guessing might blend at some point. Katasha Rose paints either people that look familiar to her, or abstract landscapes with vibrant colours as a way to feel freer from figurative style preciseness.
Khaleb Brooks (b. 1991) is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher born in Chicago, Ilinois and today based in London, UK. Their main focus explores gender blackness and the differences between memory and history through various media such as scupture, painting, or print making. I discovered their work while going around in Mayfair, London, at Gazelli Arthouse, and I was amazed and very happy to see some representation for Black trans people in such a space. I have since been hooked to this artist and watching them grow, waiting for the next thing!
Kriston Banfield is a multidisciplinary artist, born in 1992 in Trinidad and Tobago, today living and working in New York. Heavily inspired by myth and spirituality, Banfield practices in the form of painting, drawing, sculpture and installation, examining and understanding the socio-economical differences in society and how it influences human beings. The richness of colours and the subject matter have really drawn me to looking into his art. He has participated in a number of self produced exhibitions as part of an artists’ collective in his home country and has had his work included in the 5th Ghetto Biennale in Port au Prince, Haiti and in the 19th Asian Biennale 2022 as well as he is a member of the LMCC Artist’s Residency cohort of 2022.
Elechi Todd is a visual artist from Trinidad and Tobago, living and working there today. From drawing to painting, he extends his multidisciplinary skills to film-making. From drawing to painting, he extends his multidisciplinary skills to filmmaking. First practicing in a monochrome palette, Todd is today developing colourful works in more abstract pieces, from Caribbean, especially Trinidadian, subject matter and identity to the developing of one’s mind and personality.
Elechi Todd has participated to several exhibitions such as 'Relative' held at the Lost Tribe Carnival , and ‘Icons: Ideals of Black Masculinity with CCH Pounder Collection’. He also had his work shown at the Prizm Art Fair (Miami, Florida) and Arnim's Gallery (Port of Spain, Trinidad). Elechi curated a few exhibitions, the latest he collaboratively curated with a group of artists titled Shot to the Ego.