Another call from Africa from the Haitian painter Turgo Bastien

Another call from Africa from the Haitian painter Turgo Bastien

In response to the unique idiosyncrasies of the region, Caribbean art is particularly characterized by color, line and form, which in turn reflect the easy, fluid and unfettered nature that is the common denominator of the region’s peoples. These same qualities are the core of the main foundation for a certain freedom of imagination and interpretation by the viewer.

On the other hand, the influences from politics, society, religion and the economy make the art very technical, as a result of the Caribbean’s historical experience. From colonization to the present, these experiences have affected and left an indelible mark, each one of them a part of the cultural identity of each country.


Drawing is a form of art that is representative of the identity and world view of its era, from its beginnings in prehistory through its development over time. It is not limited to that, however, because in the same way that each custom contains the core of the life experiences accumulated over years, decades and centuries, drawing has, over the long course of its evolution, incorporated all of the experiences of a people in the process of learning and maturing.

Drawing, then, has evolved as a primary means of communication. From the hieroglyphics to today, it has been a general language of communication that allows the transmission of different moods and sentiments while it uses the expressive capabilities of each of its techniques of color, line and form.

The line is the essential element that creates the form with the potential to bring an image, real or abstract, into existence, interpreting and distinguishing the visible from the invisible. There are many kinds of lines, including strokes, which represent the usefulness and meaning of the line in the volume, space, structure, rhythm and communication of the work.

Color and form

Color and form play a key role in the expression of artistic work. It is therefore vitally important for the artist to understand the theory of color as well as the evolution of modern art in these two areas. The artist uses color according to the lines and the form to achieve a coherent whole, resulting in a rich and vibrant palette that makes the art unique and different. This is how Caribbean art, with its range of brilliant colors, grotesque and delicate lines and extroverted and subtle forms is expressed through dynamic art that identifies its geographic origins.


For these reasons, each country can identify their emblematic customs and values in painting, and vice versa. Individually and collectively, the Caribbean people can find themselves as if looking in a mirror, in the pictorial representations produced by Caribbean artists. The mirror is nothing other than the metaphor for the influences lived as a people and the dialogue between the viewer and the work of art, frequently represented in Caribbean painting. The mirror reflects a different image depending on the various ethnic, cultural and spiritual frameworks.

Undoubtedly, the Caribbean is full of vivid and intense color, of a joyful essence and with shared customs that lead to the creation of new ways and to face new challenges. Regardless of the era, the art of painting, from its earliest artists to the present, includes a wealth of variations that distinguish the Caribbean art. The Caribbean profile is one of unmatched, inimitable lines.
Autor: Ada Castillo
Published: December 27, 2011.

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