Calypso, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 30 inches

Artist Statement

Working at the intersection of art and healing, my exploratory approach is guided by a passion for learning and a yearning for harmony. Using paint and fiber, I combine contrasting colors with interlocking lines and shapes to create visual drama. Decorative to expressive, whimsical to powerful; I'm inspired by the Jamaican island vibrancy and aesthetic of my maternal homeland, the exotic, the handmade. My work is about identity and belonging. It’s about finding balance. It’s about seeing anew.

As an American member of the Portuguese-Caribbean diaspora, my work is informed by Jamaican basketry, wood carvings, batik, embroidery, and Panamanian hand-stitched molas. At the same time, I have gravitated to African sculpture, Pennsylvania-German painted chests, and painters who used areas of contained color and relationships of shapes including Matisse, Picasso, Miro, Modigliani, Klee and Gorky.

Influenced by the holistic healing arts and prior work as a visual / occupational therapist, I understand art-making as a therapeutic activity. While making art is a journey in perception, learning and healing are shifts in perception. Like yoga, making art is a meditative practice which yokes or unites parts. Healing is an ongoing process of maintaining balance, harmony and wholeness. Creating art is creating harmony and wholeness. Without art I would not be whole.

My identity, sense of belonging and art are interconnected. Belonging is the experience of fitting in while also being true to oneself. Like the Jamaican national motto - Out of Many, One People - belonging is not just a round peg in a round hole, it is disparate identities fitting into a whole. Belonging is the experience of harmony and oneness. I create these in my art. Belonging is my sense-of-self reflected back to me in my art.

My art intuitively integrates my life experiences, diverse cultures, crafts and painting. 

While honing an essential expression and universal language, my process is exploratory in nature. My work invites the viewer to share my curiosity. Evoking a sense of wonder, my art communicates uplifting qualities such as vibrancy, exuberance, playfulness, aliveness, and grandeur. When a piece is complete every color, line, shape, and texture belong. There’s a new balance and harmony that’s refreshing and liberating. Art provides a means to expanding consciousness.