By Susan Colby.  Photos compliments of Andrew Hewkin.

Barbados is in for a treat! St. Peter’s Bay will play host to an exhibition of work by the internationally acclaimed artist, Andrew Hewkin, M.A., sponsored by Chattel House Realty. This exciting collection opens for viewing from 23rd December and will run for five weeks; it’s shaping up to be an absolute must for this season’s calendar!

Andrew was born in Sutton Coldfield in the Midlands in 1949. There is always that one child in class to whom all others look in awe when the illustration lesson comes around requiring a map; that dreaded drawing. He or she is that ‘special one’ who seems effortlessly able to command their pencil to move around the page and conjure up a recognizable image as if by magic! Surely Andrew Hewkin was that little boy and there could not have been much doubt about what route he should follow when he left school.

Fittingly, Andrew attended Stourbridge College of Art from 1966-1967 and went on to receive a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art from the West of England College of Art in Bristol.  In 1973 he obtained a Master of Arts degree in Fine Art Painting with First Class Honours from the Royal College of Art in London. He won the John Minton Scholarship for travel and The Burton Painting award. He also exhibited at The Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions of 1972/73 and was featured in Vogue magazine as the most promising student at the Royal College. He would go on to become a regular contributor to Vogue over the following years.

By the age of 24, Andrew had exhibited in successful one-man shows at the Trafford, Asset and Piccadilly Galleries in London as well as the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. The Art World was beginning to take note and in 1976 he received an invitation to live and work in Mustique.  He was commissioned to produce an exhibition for Lord Glenconner (then The Right Honourable Colin Tenant) and, charged with the challenge of recording and highlighting the notorious “Gold Parties” of the 1970’s in Mustique, he set off on his journey. The pieces produced in this period, a collection of colourful, dynamic representations of intoxicating and alluring celebrity-filled events, formed the New York Exhibition shown in 1979 which was used as a vehicle to promote the sale of Real Estate on the island.

It was while he was working in Mustique that Andrew’s interest in travel and cultural interpretation grew and Barbados became a favourite destination. He spent many an extended visit here in the late 70’s and even thereafter found himself returning frequently; loyal both to old friends and to the continuing abundance of artistic inspiration to be found in this small but colourful island.

Although Andrew returned to England in 1979 (where he exhibited for the next 20 years at Hamiltons Gallery in Mayfair and subsequently at The Gallery in Cork Street where his work can be viewed today), he has frequently left his UK base to travel the world, paintbrush in hand, absorbing and carefully interpreting the unique personality of each country he visits; and there are many.  Despite this wanderlust, Barbados has always remained a favourite retreat.  Like so many others, he was drawn inevitably back, intrigued by the exuberance and elusive rhythm unique to these shores.

In 2000 Andrew was asked to mount an exhibition commemorating the Millennium at Royal Westmoreland and the success of this venture led to consecutive shows over the following three years. ‘Art and Interiors’ (Altman) in 2001, Sugar Hill in 2002 and a retrospective for Sandy Lane in 2003. These exhibitions also resulted in a re-connect to Mustique and two pieces to commemorate events for The Mustique Company were commissioned.  The second of which was for their auction of 2008, part of their 40th Anniversary celebrations attended by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

The list of collectors of Andrew Hewkin paintings is long and substantial. It includes not only members of the Royal Family but a diverse group of who’s who among international celebrities and art connoisseurs. Many may not be named here but some notables, (in no particular order), The BBC, Cartier International, Vogue Magazine, British Airways, Thomas Cook, Dunhill International, The Embassy Club (London), Sir Michael and Shakira Caine, Bob Monkhouse, Sir Bruce Forsythe, Sir Michael Wigan, Susan George, The Rockefellers, Jack Nicholson and David Bowie are a random example of the eclectic mix of collectors of his work.

After 40 years of travelling the world to paint in over 67 countries, it is our privilege that, after a ten-year hiatus Andrew will once again display his work in Barbados.  This Exhibition, “Barbados Revisited” is the result of much consideration and many visits to the island since 2003 to plan and prepare for the show. Not only does the collection depict the more obvious elements of beautiful Barbados, but it demonstrates a far deeper analysis of a unique lifestyle, constant even while evolving. By using colour, tone and light-humidity, to represent the tranquility within the local culture, music and harmony of the island, the artist has attempted to evoke a certain ‘vibrancy of peace’ and the enviable ‘power-to-forget’ so special to Barbados. This is an eclectic and powerful collection show-casing Barbados then and now through a combination of earlier pieces and new, specially produced additions. The newer pieces reflect an artistic progression which parallels the subtle nuances and local lifestyle changes observed by the artist over the years. A sampling of some international pieces lends cohesiveness and connectivity for the benefit of those less familiar with Hewkin’s work.

Hewkin has, through his paintings, created a beautiful and dignified record of the many elements of our island life with attention to the natural ecological and social changes he has observed during his visits over nearly four decades. At the same time, by incorporating surreal and metaphysical imagery, he succeeds in liberating the viewer to follow the journey further.  The license and nature of art is the privilege of both the creator and the observer.

“Barbados Revisited” promises to be a rewarding and aesthetically exciting experience for both the seasoned aficionados and the simply curious. Put this straight at the top of your ‘TO DO’ list!

Appointments can be arranged to discuss the artist’s work, further projects or commissioned pieces by calling Jeremy Palmer on (246) 230-2099.  Andrew will be available and on the island for the duration of the exhibition. To learn more about his work visit www.andrewhewkin.com

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