.NICK MALEY'S ISLAND ARTS ANTIGUA W.I......
IN EXHIBITION PRISCILLA LOOBY APRIL 1999 Antigua Horizons...
Priscilla Looby, Antigua's foremost naive artist, was born in Liberta, one of a family of eight. Her home was surrounded by wildlife.... chickens, goats, donkeys, pigs.... and as a result they have evolved to be major focal points in her paintings.
Her interest in art began early and she often sketched things from her community. "I can remember being rebuked by older folks who find it strange for a girl to be doing such a thing," she says of her formative years, " but in spite of it all I kept right on sketching."
Her school years ended in 1983 and she immediately set about finding an Art teacher. "Some how, I stumbled upon a Peace Corp Volunteer who has been a great influence and encouraging force to me. " She is talking about Lou Cottage, a strong influence on the development of Antiguan artists in the 80's and early 90's. Through the art center that Lou ran at English Harbour, (wrecked by hurricane Georges), Lou was instrumental in encouraging many Antiguan's to paint and provided a vibrant outlet for their works. Priscilla was amongst them.
"I got discouraged at times," she admits, "but when I think of my little old house where I was born I can't help but pick up my sketch pad."
Priscilla developed a style that was quite different to the highly realistic images of others around her. Whilst artists like Lyndel Benjamin pursued almost hyper realism she was drawn to the naive perspectives she found in SOME of Lou's works which absorbed the influences of popular naive artists from Haiti, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. Soon she was developing a reputation of her own and could be found most days painting at the Officers Quarters overlooking the harbor.
Priscilla has a young family and very full home commitment. She admits to sitting up until midnight working on her paintings. "Whenever I am not painting," she muses, "I am like a fish out of water." She now lives in Falmouth and it was paintings of this small seaside community that she featured in her first solo show at Harmony Hall in March 97.
In this her second show churches and chickens, bars and breadfruit, sailboats and sunshine... all combine as Priscilla's brush strokes clearly express her pride and understanding of the colorful lands and people that make up her island home...... Antigua.
Other artists exhibiting at Island Arts Galleries, Antigua