During the course of the exhibit, which ran on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest from 21 December 2015 to 10 January 2016 110,733 people viewed at least one of the 40 paintings presented. The paintings were liked 4,282 times and shared another 1,113 times. Home for Christmas’ by DiDi Dometilie from Curaçao was the most popular painting of the series.
It was liked, shared and retweeted 316 times. Second on the list was ‘Pesebre’ by Hipólito Ocalia (also Curaçao) with 265 social engagements, followed by ‘Dance in Red’ by Vanita Gopwani (Barbados, 194), ‘Por el Camino al Mercado’ by Miguel Pou (Puerto Rico, 188) and ‘Nativity’ by Saincilus Ismael (Haiti, 183).
Other artists with high social engagements of their paintings were Gaston Tabois and Bernard Hoyes (Jamaica); Manuel Mendive (Cuba); KCatia (Guadeloupe); Carla Negrón and Wichie Torres (Puerto Rico); Ronni Harris (Virgin Islands); Brent Malone and Amos Ferguson (The Bahamas); José Morillo (Dominican Republic); Jan Farara (Antigua); and Sayada Ramdial (Trinidad & Tobago).
Caribbean Painters, who curated the exhibit, is elated by the results. “Very often painters in the Caribbean region don’t have enough recognition outside of their country”, says Alina Cuartas, the curator of the exhibit. “Due to the small scale of the islands, talented artists don’t have enough possibilities to be noticed outside of their country. They remain unknown to larger parts of the world.
This project shows that through social media local Caribbean artists can increase their exposure and gain international acclaim. Social media is also an easy way for art lovers around the world to get to know and eventually love art from the Caribbean.”
Three participating painters were contacted for a commissioned work through the social media exhibit, and six other painters enrolled in a program that Caribbean Painters offers to promote local artists. Caribbean Painters expects more painters and commissions will follow.
Caribbean Painters is located in Willemstad, Curaçao and is curated by Cuban born Alina Cuartas de Marchena, who has an Arts Degree from the Open University of Holland. She is assisted by her brother Jorge Cuartas who has a Marketing Degree from the University of Utrecht and has initiated several art projects in The Caribbean.