Celebrating 50 years in business as CEO of Devonish Art Gallery -I

Establishig myself on the Carribean and International Art Scene.

I can’t believe it has been 50 years; it is an ongoing hard fought, bumpy, exciting and enjoyable road, full of self-satisfaction.

It started out with the focus on ceramics, but I fell madly in love with a warm, beautiful, lady- called Mahogany, there were numerous flirtations with other ladies including ebony, elm, walnut, maple, cedar, but I remained faithful to mahogany.

The first 2 years were tough, in a Bajan market that was still in its infant stage; A little restaurant called the Beer House on Marhill Street, Bridgetown kept the doors open.

It was ironic, the Beer house was right opposite the Route 5 bus stand,where the bus to the chalky Mount pottery district came and went, the very village where I was born and lived until I migrated to Coventry, UK at the age of 18 years, to join my parents, 8 sisters and one brother, the other brother joined us a couple years later.

The original name of the gallery was –The Design and Art Centre, where we introduced the Shirt Jack, Reggae Music, Copper and Ceramic lamp shades to Barbados, in an effort to combat the mess the salt air made of metal.

Ceramic Production

After abandoning the restaurant, as I was married to art not food, we moved to another location on the same street, the name was changed to Gallery 71. Other than my creations, the effort to market the pottery production from the Chalky potters energized as the market grew.

The unfortunate failure of a new gas kiln, with a large order prompted the opening of COD pottery and Ceramics in Pelican Village; a stone throw from the deep-water harbor and the cruise ships. One of the leading and most creative of the chalky mount potters was recruited to produce and train 2 young potters; one was a gem but was stolen by the Canadian Blue mountain Potteries.

The threat of an English Gentleman being offered a duty-free license to produce ceramics in Barbados coerced a joint venture in another larger location in pelican village.

The experience was a disaster, and I will say no more; COD Pottery and Ceramics moved back to pelican village with a new space also for a woodcarving studio with one trainee.

Wood Art at this time were the main attraction, after winning several outstanding prizes in local art competitions, several international exhibitions and attention from local and international press.

There was a local boost when in partnership with a super talented Weaver and fabric artist, Roslyn Watson; we did something that was unheard-of; we mounted art exhibitions in Commercial Department stores in Barbados, Trinidad and years later without Roslyn in Canada.

The MMove To Anguilla

The say love is blind, my last exhibition in Barbados yielded something that I was working towards for 18 years, to introduce art to the ordinary Bajan public. The exhibition of woodcarvings and ceramics in the Queens Park Gallery saw the fulfillment of that goal

the exhibition was a huge success; and over 75% of the sales was to local folks, in the middle of the tourist season.

That is when I moved to Anguilla, after being seduced by the Island and falling in love with one of its well-known ladies.

Soon Come-

22 Comments


  1. Hi Courtney, Congratulations on your artistic achievements. From the tone of your article I can see you love what you do. I am a Jamaican who loves art, especially pottery. Are there any plans for you to produce your mahogany work for export? It would be nice to add to what we already have. Do you have a site that displays your products ? Best wishes and thanks for the information.

    Reply

    1. Thank you, I have never been to Jamaica, but my work has via Carifesta; I also had 2 Jamaican ceramic artists working with me in my studio,both great artists; my work has travelled the world, but I no longer enjoy travelling, so Online is my current  travel routine.-devonishart.com. Best wishes.

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  2. What a journey! Cannot wait to hear the second part.  I am happy for you that you have a running and successful art gallery in Anguilla. I personally love the wood arts, it relaxes me and calm me down. Where the ceramics some of them give me this cold feelings, not sure how to express it lol can’t wait to hear about part 2 of your journey! Congrats!!!

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    1. Thank you, one of my hearts could bring you lots of joy; There has been some wonderful feedback, wood gives you joy and relaxation to the touch. see- devonishart.com. Enjoy your day.

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  3. I CELEBRATE WITH YOU SIR.

    50 years of artwork isn’t a joke I love your artistry. 

    I generally love artists and something about you draws me closer. 

    MOst times, we forget about other forms of art which include pottery and ceramics. Many people haven’t seen the beauty of artwork and are yet to subscribe to it 

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    1. Thank you, As a Caribbean person, it is a great disappointment that many of our people do not visit art galleries, it took me over 15 years to win over the average folks who can afford art, in Anguilla its worse, I can count the patronage from Anguilla on one hand, my plan is to persuade a supermarket to mount a display; I am positive the market will grow when people are exposed to the work.Have a great day.

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  4. Congrats on this fit. This motivation to upcoming gallery artist that emulate your style of success in ceramic making. The way you select the choice of words in addressing is catchy. To earn international recognition proves that one can be best in Art gallery with commitment and publications of one’s products. This is inspiring. 

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    1. It is a challenging career, but the excitement outways the challenges.Thank you and stay in touch. All the best.

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  5. Wow! Nice art. Mahogany is a nice material to work with. It looks great and you have produced great forms. Congrats on your fiftieth anniversary. It is a long period of art. Being creative and knowing that you are producing something that will make people’s homes feel more elegant and artistic is a gift. Congrats on your work and wish you a further on a lot of success!Best regards,IgorStay well, market better, convert best!

    Reply

    1. Thank you Igor, doing my best with a little help. Mahogany and birds eye maple are great woods to work with; I no longer have access  to Birds eye maple; Carving keeps me in a state of peace and joy.

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  6. Congratulations on 50 years in business as CEO of Devonish Art Gallery I. Hope that you continue to bring pottery, ceramics, and wood art to the people of the Caribbean. 

    Best wishes for your future in Anguilla. Are you going to continue your endeavours from there?

    Next time I am in the area I will look you up. Cheers.

    Ed

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    1. Will love to see you; I have been living in Anguilla for the past 30 years, and has no plans on leaving, in spite of challenging times ahead. Come to our cocktail party on 23 Feb. Best wishes.

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  7. Aloha Courtney and Carrolle!

    Wow! What a story! I’m impressed! It is an amazing success that you achieved, guys! And I really enjoyed reading your story. The post is great, with lots of humor and esprit!
    I love your entire website! It is simple authentic!

    I love nature and I love wood. Enjoy so much being surrounded by beautiful wooden pieces of art. Like to touch wood, its slightly warm feeling.
    My husband and I have chosen Acacia Koa rings for our wedding 🙂

    We are now finishing up our building plans and will start soon the building process. But later on, if you ship to Hawaii, I could really imagine to purchase some wonderful art work by you, guys!
    Wishing you all the best!
    Keep up your awesome work!
    Aloha, Jenna

    Reply

    1. Thank you Jenna, wood is such a warm and beautiful material, plus being surrounded by trees add rich flavor to your spirit; will love to ship to you one day. Good luck with the house.Best Wishes
      Courtney & Carrolle

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  8. Aloha Courtney and Carrolle!Wow! What a story! I’m impressed! It is an amazing success that you achieved, guys! And I really enjoyed reading your story. The post is great, with lots of humor and esprit!I love your entire website! It is simple authentic!I love nature and I love wood. Enjoy so much being surrounded by beautiful wooden pieces of art. Like to touch wood, its slightly warm feeling.My husband and I have chosen Acacia Koa rings for our wedding :-)We are now finishing up our building plans and will start soon the building process. But later on, if you ship to Hawaii, I could really imagine to purchase some wonderful art work by you, guys!Wishing you all the best!Keep up your awesome work!

    Aloha, Jenna

    Reply

    1. Hi Jenna will he happy to grace your new home with some of my mahogany pieces, especially since you love touch , which is one of the strongest features of my work. Keep in touch and look out for the exhibition to be featured on the site for 23 Feb. Enjoy your day.

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  9. Hi! Congrats! Wao, 50 years! It can be said easy but there sure is a lot of experience in that journey. As you have stated, it sure must have been a bumpy but exciting voyage.

    Mahogany has it’s enchantment. I’ll stick around your blog. I want to learn as much I can from an expert that has worked years with mahogany.

    I’ll continue checking your site. I want to read more about your experience in Anguilla! Keep well!

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    1. Thank you, Happy to know you will continue to follow the journey. All the best.

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  10. Wow, what a journey, and what a milestone reached at this point. 50 years In the art gallery business is no joke . I am pretty sure what you have is one hell of a story with twists and turns, ups and down, but alas here we are celebrating your triumph, it has been a worthwhile journey. To your success.

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    1. What a journey is right, but it  had its delights as well as its tears. Thank you for your comments. Best wishes.

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  11. Congratulations on your accomplishment of 50 years in the art business!  The island nations you mentioned in your post, Barbados and Anguillas, sound like beautiful, eastern Carribean, tropical paradises, tucked away in secluded vacation destinations!  I am thinking I may have heard of these island nations from Pat Sajak as he announces vacation prizes on Wheel of Fortune, but I am not sure.  Eitherway, I enjoyed your personification of the varous woods you enjoy working with and how you are “married” to Mohagany.  

    Your story is facinatating, moving to England and different island nations in the West Indies working your life’s passions!  I enjoyed your adventure!     

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    1. Thanks you, yes I am sure you would have heard of both Islands, coming from Barbados there must have been a magical charm for me to make the move, If my work was not my passion I would not have stayed in business, the life of a full time artist is no easy ride. Have a great day.

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