black ishi
Review On the VEXX Exhibition
from the nation newspaper by Ulric Rice

Vexx sends strong words of protest.
Strong messages of protest,fustration,hope and spiritual orientation emanate from the exhibition entitled Vexx,mounted by three Barbadian artists at the Queens park gallery. the artists are the rastafarian brethren Ras Ishi,Ras Akyemi and Woodpecker, sculptor.

The exhibition is presented by the National Cultural Foundation.It opened on Saturday,May 27 and continues until Tuesday,June 20th.

There is a brilliant colour in the mainly large works. Strong reds,blues and greens are combined with slashing accents of black.Theres an obvious intention of glorifying the Negro race and resisting the discrimination and oppresion these human beings have suffered.

Societal Decay

Societal decay,the deadly menace of drug pushing and addicition, the struggle for economic survival are all portrayed.

The exhibitis are in modern ethos,with strong representational content as well as abstractions.

Ras Ishi presented 21 paintings,Ras Akyemi also 21 paintings and one cement casting;while Woodpecker presented 11 sculptures for a total of 54 works in the exhibition.

Ras Ishi worked with oil on canvas,oil and charcoal on canvas,oil and wax crayon,pencil,fabric,acrylic on board,and acrylic on canvas.

Ras Akyem's media were:acrylic and collage,oil on canvas,oil and charcoal,oil on watercolour,gouache and acrylic,on paper,pencil and white cement.

Woodpecker sculpted bueatifully in mahogany.

Ras Ishi sends a powerful message with Social Sickness and OD.

In Social Sickness a girl in an untidy uniform with textbook held in left hand,arm akimbo,and right hand holding chalk,stands before a blackboard on which is written the subject heading Social Sickness.

The subject sections are child abuse,Incesst,rape,Pornography,unemployment,teenage pregnancy,juvenille delinquency,drugs.

Figure of Despair.

Od is a figure of despair.A figure of a human of indeterminate sex clad in a green blouse and red pants slumps with head on hands.The top of the head is missing in a blur of yellow and green smoke and flame.

Emblazened on the murky background are: Diplomactic dope coke; confidential;drug baron escapes;illegal;steroids;alcohol;Drugs raid;.At the base in a box is;Say No.

Other titles with a message of protest are dun wuk,white wash,A-class,mutations 1,mutations 2 and badboy.They protest difficult working conditions in agriculture and police harassment.

but such works as arise,black bueaty,Dreams,burning bush and annunciation evoke hope and progress to dignity.

Ras Akyem's Black bull tends to impressionism in a treatment of an impending sexual overblown woman wreathed in tanslucent strips of fabric lies on the ground with naked breats but covering her viginal area with her left hand.

A satyr created in reverse of traditional mythical beast has the head and horns of a bull on the torso of a man,huge testicles dangle below jutting buttocks as he offers a flower that looks like frangipani to the woman whose face is averted from his gaze with eyes closed.

Trees,shrubs and mushrooms complete this dramatic piece.

In diametrically different mood is madonna and child by the same artist,where negro woman is draped with flowers as she supports in an infant on her lap.

Dramatic sculpture

His Prodigal is a dramatic sculpture of a naked figure extruding from a ruptured wall.There is an uncanny power in this picture of escape.

In, If Six was a nine and absrtact work,Ras Akyem ask:suppose those who made war had to fight them?

Some of his other titles are;Promised land,Rumours of war,echo,golgotha,gethsemane,halleluah and when i was young.The last is a pencil self-portrait.

Woodpecker's mahogany sculptures show the important role mothers and women must play to developed and protect the society.

Mother earth has drama symmetry and balance.An adult female figure carrying an infant on her right arm as the child clings to her neck and body with arms and legs.
Hugging a male toddler to her left side as she stands beside her,she balances a water jug on her head.there are bold chisels strokes marking masses hair and fine treatment of delicate grained features.

Journey shows birds in flight in a highly decorative use of the gnarled shape that seems to be a root stucture.The pattern of the natural wood grain enhances the flow of the wings and the bueaty of the whole work.

Some of his other works are cocoon,dance,old man,African queen,blossom,maternity and abortion.

Newspaper review - A Stirring Display Wednesday June 7th 1989 daily Nation newspaper
written by Ulric Rice.


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