b. 1945, Saint Lucia
Llewellyn Xavier is a multi-media artist, environmentalist, President and Founder of the Saint Lucia Sculpture Park Foundation.
Edward Lucie-Smith, in his introduction to Llewellyn Xavier’s biography: Llewellyn Xavier His Life and Work, wrote: “Llewellyn Xavier, who is St. Lucia’s pre-eminent visual artist has followed a career path whose twists and turns many West Indian creators will recognise, he was born in 1945.....Though a number of Llewellyn’s paintings appear at the first to be abstract, they all contain a figurative element, sometimes deeply buried in accumulated layers of paint. The best interpretative approach is in fact through basic subject matter, rather than through apparent style. The smoothest transition from earlier to later work is represented by a sequence of paintings where the subject is an opulent vase of flowers. The earliest of these paintings resemble the flower-pieces Van Gogh produced in Paris between 1886 and 1888, before his move to Arles. That is, they are boldly colourful, but still have the remnants of 19th century artistic convention.”
Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims, a specialist in modern and contemporary art, in her foreword to Xavier’s biography, had this to say: “Xavier’s own response to what Edward Lucie-Smith describes as the threat to the fragile ecology of the island, is indeed the reaction of a son returning to his native land in the spirit of Lam, Césaire and Carpentier, true pioneers in the cultural and political emancipation of the Caribbean. As the unique aspects of the St. Lucian environment , continue to guide and impact the evolution of his imagery, then, Xavier stands as a vital force in the on-going dialogue of globalism and locality, cultural tourism and cultural sovereignty in the art of the Caribbean.”
In the preface to his book Xavier expresses the profound impact the American Abstract Expressionists have had on his art: “I am inspired by the American Abstract Expressionists, I love and admire their bold daring vision, the grandeur of their gestures, their boundless energy and their sheer force of purpose and power.”
Edward Dolman, CEO and Chairman of Phillips, in the press release to Blue Ocean Sanctuary, Xavier’s one person exhibition at Phillips, New York January-February 2016, stated: “Llewellyn is one of the greatest artists ever to emerge from the Caribbean and we are honored to be collaborating with him on this very exciting selling exhibition”
Llewellyn Xavier was awarded the OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2004. His work is held in the Permanent Collections of The Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, The Ulster Museum, Northern Ireland, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto amongst others.