Artist Denize Ledeatte presented an artwork collection titled ‘Waladi Ruby 40’ to Antigua and Barbuda at the High Commission in London. According to Ledeatte, the Waladi Ruby 40 was created to reflect and celebrate Antiguan and Barbudan history, the twin-island state’s coming of age, and its future potential through an artistic lens.
The art pieces consist of an abstracted figurative triptych painting, with four original abstract pieces that are extensions of the central poetic text, which creates the storyline reflecting Antigua and Barbuda’s journey. Moreover, the pieces are supported with abstracted photographs with embedded images of her mother and father their stories of sacrifice and compassion while contributing to community development in the UK and, more so, Antigua and Barbuda. Ledeatte reignited her artistic passion following her father’s untimely death, which imbued a greater sense and inspiration of artist, identity, and heritage.
Present at the handover via zoom was Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Director of Culture Khan Cordice, along with High Commissioner H.E. Karen Mae Hill and Alphonso Peters, President of the Antigua and Barbuda National Association (London).
Prime Minister Browne commended Denize on creating such impressive pieces of artwork in capturing the history of Antigua and Barbuda. He further noted that “we need to expand the insights towards capturing the country’s historical buildings, the landscape as it is now, and our people; though some exist, more needs to be done to tell our story”. Prime Minister Browne also extended an initiation to Denize assistance in strengthening capacity within the nation’s schools, sharing insights with budding artists on how to best preserve our history.
Echoing the Prime Minister sentiments, High Commissioner Hill congratulated Denize on capturing critical junctures of our history through artistic and visionary lens on canvas. She also highlighted that there are many gifted, skilled, and talented persons in the diaspora across many critical areas of developmental interest and that the High Commission will further seek out opportunities for such persons to contribute to the development of Antigua and Barbuda.
Khan Cordice expressed his appreciation for the presentation of the artistic gift to the nation on the 40th anniversary of independence. The Director of Culture noted that “in a post-pandemic world, one aspect I want to see in the creative industry is for us to ‘build back better’ our relations with the diaspora, especially as we look to develop what the world now calls the ‘Orange Economy”. The Director further added, “we need to have a better connection with persons of Antiguan and Barbudan heritage, who are the champions of our country in the diaspora and see how we can create a platform and create initiatives that are beneficial both in the development of the creative industry”.
Denize is a first-generation Diasporan Antiguan and an award-winning artist, having studied at Croydon College of Art and Design, City Lit, Putney School of Art, Kofi Arts and The Essential School of Painting. She is also an award recipient and alumni of the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network in both British and European categories, as well as a British Innovation Society Award recipient and a former Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Denize’s work has been presented at man academic conferences both in the UK and abroad and was recently invited as a contributor to the final chapter of the Handbook of Postcolonial Politics published by Routledge.
To learn more about Denize and her artwork, visit https://www.peachmangomaverick.com