My agenda was indeed different when I entered his office in mid-September. “We can either cry and get upset or make the best of it.” This was the sentiment expressed by Ambassador Gustavo when he saw my face drop at the news of his return to Argentina. I went with a plan to implement the proposed exhibitions for the remainder of the year.
We must indeed make it good. Ambassador Gustavo worked with and made the best of limited resources. His actions show that will supercedes money in the attainment of goals. This philosophy of growing within the confines of where you are planted is echoed in Kraig Yearwood’s ‘Untitled’ (Caged).
2020 has indeed been a year of change.
The Covid-19 pandemic is the now the pivot around which we spin our lives. Tracy Greenidge depicts this as being in the grip of the most treacherous enemy in Barbados, the centipede in his piece ‘Infected Conscience’. In Gail Riley’s ‘Corona Flower’ we feel the anxiety, angst, tension. A lot of us are literally bent out of shape. Margaret Herbert’s installation ‘Say Their Names’, reminds us that generational sores have come to a head, and that experiences can be gruesome before better comes.
How do we make the best of it?
How do we define ourselves in a changing world?
How do we carry on?
One way is to indeed find the positive. “We have done lots of good work together”, he said, and indeed we did. Like Tracey William’s ‘Cattleya’, his slice of time with us definitely brightened our world. Ambassador Gustavo hosted 75 artists in various solo and group show. No trivial feat.
Opportunities to show are critical for the growth of the artists and to the economic value of Art. The Argentine Embassy became our home where hundreds of people were exposed to our Art, and they were indeed diverse eyes. Ambassador Gustavo brought an eclectic mix of Bajans and international guests together. A mix reflective of his own personality. Arts, sports, football, agriculture, education, beauty, trade, finance, environment. Our shows were filled with the unusual suspect. For this we are truly grateful.
This show celebrates his apasionado, his energético, his alegría de vivir, with a dynamic selection of paintings, photography, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, mixed media, digital and new media works. 42 artists are on display.
The works celebrate our people. We have portraits by Barbara Pickering, Sian Pampellone, Black, Jason Hope and Nyssa Haynes Holder. The works highlight our island environment in which we build our culture. Reflections of this culture are in pieces which capture kadooment, dance, tuk band, fishing and polo.
Ambassador Gustavo’s visual and conceptual framework is the ‘handshake’. The exchange of differing energies, coming together to make it better. He shook hands and hearts. Oneka Small captured this in the ‘Love Mandala’ and John Webster’s ‘The Crossing’ alludes to this coming together, the meeting of paths.
We are indeed grateful for his time and energy spent on The Rock, Barbados.
Farewell Ambassador Gustavo!
22 October 2020.