For our very first Artist Corner, we are excited to be illuminating the work of local artist LaVaughn Belle in her inaugural exhibit at home titled: Being Of Myth Of Memory. The exhibit was featured from December 2, 2023- January 13, 2024, at the Caribbean Museum Center of the Arts on St. Croix.

Belle casts a spellbinding aura that captures the gallery space, her work an alchemical blend of cultural resonance and artistic innovation transporting the viewer back to a memory and the story of legend. The work itself is based on the myth of the first encounter between Columbus and the Caribs at Salt River, which was named Cape of Arrows based on the fight that ensued following the encounter. One of Belle’s signature strengths lies in her mastery of diverse mediums. From canvas to sculpture, her art transcends boundaries, each piece a testament to her versatility and willingness to experiment and a commitment to spark dialogue and introspection.

Far from merely aesthetics, Belle’s works are individual calls to engage with the narratives that shape our understanding of self and community. These calls convey a sense of intimacy as we are invited to peer through her distinctive lens. Our eyes befall the challenges preconceptions captured in stills, imagery, mixed media, and brilliance that allow us to see the world anew through these works that become beacons guiding us through a labyrinth of emotions, memories, and cultural nuances. The figure is an embodiment of the strength exhibited by to Carib women, who shot arrows at Columbus and his men during that encounter at the Cape of Arrows.

Sovereign (how to pull a spear from your throat)

In the feature work Sovereign (how to pull a spear from your throat) the viewer is lured into the space by outstretched hands calling for attention to the intentional details and forcing them to live in that moment. “But how does one live, thrive, dream about futures when so much of one’s memories have been erased; when remembering requires our bodies to relive the violence and shame of the past, making forgetting a form of protection?” — Erica Moiah James, Ph.D. In looking at Belle’s belief that myth and memory are necessities of life, the answer to that question and many questions about our cultural memories become less opaque and the discourse surrounding myths more continuous.

Each angle of the piece Sovereign unfolds the narrative of a journey through the intricate corridors of myth and memory. The bed of broken glass and mirrors is as clear as the waters in the bay from the day of the encounter with man and myth. Though sightless the sculpted pulp, soil and wired body peers at you as it emerges out from the water, the textures astounding and the placements precise in reverence to the layers of meaning embedded within, transcending the traditional boundaries of spectatorship.

Sovereign (how to pull a spear from your throat)

As “Being of Myth and Memory” unfolds, Sovereign remains a beacon—a focal point that beckons viewers to explore the intricate dance between the tangible and the intangible, the real and the imagined. It is a testament to the power of art to transcend boundaries, provoke thought, and leave an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to experience its magic. We hope that you too will take some time to explore LaVaughn Belle's artwork and be spellbound by the journey that is sure to befall you as you transcend the boundaries of time and space and of myth and memory.

Sovereign (how to pull a spear from your throat)