BE OPEN Art, an online art gallery set up by BE OPEN think tank, a humanitarian initiative founded by international businessperson and philanthropist Elena Baturina, is running a new competition for emerging artists, aimed to support those whose art best represents their regional, cultural and ethnic identities – BE OPEN Regional Art.
Every month, works by 20 emerging artists from Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, etc. were posted at the online gallery for the public to select the Regional Artist of the Month.
In April, May and June the title was given to Keyonne ‘Keeks’ Yarde, Barbados; Kamlah Kew, Antigua & Barbuda and Anna Gibson, Barbados.
Based on the amount of votes by the public and BE OPEN’s art community members, Kamlah Kew, a self-taught artist born in Antigua & Barbuda, has become the Artist of the Region for the Caribbean.
Kamlah’s art is inspired by “the beauty in small moments, in human connection with each other and the Divine and is permeated with love for my Caribbean upbringing and African heritage”. She explores themes of family and faith in a way that centres and celebrates the experiences of people of the African Diaspora. Kew mainly works in digital and acrylic media, utilising bold and vibrant colours, which convey the energy and warmth she feels when creating her artworks.
The Founder of BE OPEN Elena Baturina commented on the outcome of the Caribbean stage: “Thanks to this competition, we learn so much about the vision, the talent, the uniqueness and yet the nurturing common ground of the Caribbean artists. Through their creative eyes we see the beauty of people, the vibrant colours of nature, the cultural and traditional specifics of imagery. BE OPEN Regional Art will be proud to facilitate them in getting deserved attention and help the world to see more of their talent. I would name Kristianne Buxo from Grenada as my personal favourite, as her technique and choice of colours embody the Caribbean for me.”
Next in 2023, the focus of the competition will move to Southeast Asia and Central Africa at the end of the year. The regional competition runs alongside the regular ongoing work of BE OPEN Art, whose experts every month select 20 new artists for the gallery, using online voting to name the Artist of the Month and the Artist of the Year.