ARTIST INSTRUCTOR BIOS
Lucien Downes is a contemporary, abstract, figurative, artist. that demonstrates freedom of thought and expression through mixed media. His works are composed of spiritual and worldly elements that function independently at times or merge to encompass a whole. Lucien utilizes resin, acrylic, fibers, raw pigments, plexi glass and sometimes found objects, to create his pieces.
Lucien's work has been exhibited at the Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (Atlanta Ga. 2012), The Alliance Theater for the Arts ( Atlanta Ga. 2011), The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts ( St. Croix U.S.V.I. 2011 ), Top Hat Gallery (St. Croix U.S.V.I. 2013), Marjorie Robbins Gallery ( St. Croix U.S.V.I 2013), The Caribbean Fine Arts Exhibit (St. Croix U.S.V.I. 2009-2014), and The Caribbean Colour Exhibit (St. Thomas U.S.V.I 2013-2016) just to name a few.
He has had several one man shows,( "Acention" (Georgia Perimeter College Atlanta Ga. 2011), "Visions" (Sam Flax Art and Design Atlanta Ga. 2010) , "Fazes" (Atlanta Foundation for Public Space Atlanta Ga. 2012) ) and participated in numerous group shows around the Caribbean and United States. His pieces are displayed in the homes of Maya Angelou, Teddy Rielly , and many private collections around the world.
Lucien was born and raised in the United States Virgin Islands ( St. Croix) and Currently resides between Miami, Atlanta, and St. Croix.
Artist Yemaya Jones’ textile designs have been displayed at such notable places as the Smithsonian Institution, yet she is still delighted and enthused to share her art with the local community. She dyes all-natural silk, wool, cotton and rayon textiles in all the colors of nature using batik methods and the Japanese itajime clamp method. She said her inspiration and designs come from the vibrant colors of the Caribbean and an ancient, ancestral culture. She has perfected techniques using turkey basters and eye droppers to apply color and create intricate designs. The fabric is turned into gorgeous wall hangings, coats, pants, tunics, scarves, and skirts.
Sonia Nahar Deane was born in Guyana, South America – but she is blessed to have the cultures of Guyana and Suriname in her DNA. She migrated to New York City with her family at the age of 11.
Sonia holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Early Childhood Education from the City University of New York and has 30 years of experience as an educator. Her love of art began with illustrations in children’s books. She believed that children would first see themselves through beautiful images of themselves and the world.
She is an exuberant and passionate art collector as well as an enthusiast in the distillery and marketing of rums from every corner of the world. She fell in love with St Croix after several visits beginning in 1989. Since then, she has made St Croix another place she calls home – referring to the island as “the romanticism” of her youth. Her focus since moving to the island has been the rehabilitation of a 2,800 square foot building in the town of Christiansted, resulting in a complex of residences and an art gallery.
The art gallery, proudly named “Cane Roots Art Gallery” has fulfilled a decade long desire to merge her love for education and art into a space where collectors can appreciate and purchase art from around the world.
John Obafemi Jones was born in Ellaville GA on October 29th, 1950. Seeking better economic opportunities, John’s parents migrated from southwest Georgia to Brooklyn, New York, At the age of five, John began to exhibit a talent for the arts. John’s junior high school art teacher noticed his potential and encouraged his mother to enroll him in a drawing class at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. The weekly visits to the Museum fueled John’s commitment to the arts.
After high school, he enrolled at Pratt Institute. However, a burning desire for a deeper understanding of the dynamics and significance of African American artists and their art led John to transferred to Fisk University Nashville, TN. At Fisk, John came in contact with American cultural stalwarts such as Aaron Douglas, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, and David Driscoll. During this period, Jones began the visual exploration of Afro-Atlantic culture, particularly the areas of religion and music.
After college, John returned to New York and established a studio in the Tribeca section of lower Manhattan. In 1979 John settled on St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands and his wife, the fiber artist “Yemaya." A teaching artist, John taught Advance Placement Studio Art at the St. Croix Educational Complex H.S.
Elisa McKay, self-taught St. Croix artist, began a hobby of making note cards using African print fabric, papers, flowers, and bits of ribbon and cord. This hobby found its way into many stores and hotel gift shops in the Virgin Islands. In 1993, Elisa moved to increasingly larger formats in her designs. Her distinctive African-Caribbean collages interpret themes of family, community and celebration. Silhouettes of African fabric and paper combined with acrylic, gouache and watercolor, metal, wood, and other findings are used to create striking mixed media creations ."The purpose of my art is to connect with my multicultural roots, but most importantly, my African/Caribbean ancestry. Being raised in the African/Caribbean Diaspora in Harlem, NY, exposed me to a rich culture, which has been woven through the tapestry of my life. In the spirit of my ancestors, I celebrate my heritage through my art...with respect, honor, and love.”