Shara Spencer posing with the feature painting on the Pink Wall commemorating the month of breast cancer. (Picture by Lennox Devonish.)
For as long she could remember, Shara Spencer always had a creative mind. During a recent interview with EASY magazine, she recalled enjoying arts and crafts as a child and admiring her mother’s sketches.
Shara explained that painting and drawing gave her another outlet to express thoughts and emotions in addition to her preferred medium of writing. Whenever she saw something inspirational or witnessed something exciting, what better way for her to describe the scene or tell the story of what occurred than surfacing the situation on canvas. She uses her brushes and paints as tools to capture what is going on around her through her lens.
“I like to create beautiful things, so most of my artwork is bright and happy,” she said. “When you look at a painting it should evoke a feeling from you, and I try to capture the essence of happiness in my work – to evoke a positive feeling, maybe even uplift someone’s spirit.”
The Harrison College alumna pays attention to subtle things in life that people may not usually notice, like the beauty of someone’s smile, the variation of colour in flowers or how the sea reflects a sunset. And though she likes to bring simplicity to the forefront in her work she also has a keen interest in recognising the strides of black people.
In her latest exhibition at Drift Ocean Terrace Lounge, Holetown, St James, she showcased a collection of paintings called The Pink Wall.
“During the month of breast cancer awareness (October) I created an exhibition in honour of this cause,” she explained, adding that the pink Bob Marley-inspired piece in the collection was created in an effort to raise funds for the Barbados Cancer Society’s breast cancer screening programme. “The musician was chosen as the signature piece because of the positive messages of his songs like No Woman No Cry and the fact that he too suffered from cancer.
“This collection also features a ‘Bella’ a little black ballerina, and I must confess that I love her Afro . . . There are so many Europeanised things in the world and I think it is important to showcase your ancestry. In the future, I plan to research the topic more thoroughly so I can truly represent those historic elements in my art.” Shara plans on creating another special exhibit for African Heritage Month next year.
The self-taught artist also exhibited her work at various locations across the country such as The Art Splash Centre, the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and even at the Joy Lounge restaurant in Trinidad. As an emerging artist, she reaffirmed that any opportunity to display pieces is important for exposure.
“Getting exposure is a big issue for young and unknown artists, and I truly appreciate companies who work with artists and give them access to spaces where they can display their work and grow.
“Although there are art galleries on the island, I believe that displaying your work in a restaurant creates an inviting and relaxed atmosphere for everyday patrons. Everybody might not go to an art gallery or be able or afford the art on the wall but they can still be inspired by it and get a sense of appreciation for what artists do.”
When the visual artist is not busy painting she is jotting down ideas for a new book. For the 29-year-old, storytelling is an important feature in every child’s life and stories of adventure and fantasy engulf the imagination of children, whether they read at bedtime or during leisure periods. And she has used those elements in the first children’s book she penned.
The author, who works at Blue Print Creative Inc. as a copywriter, explained that she considers herself as an advocate for accomplishing one’s dreams or goals. Noting that children experience challenges at a tender age such as peer pressure and other emotional trials during puberty, she said the key message of the book is “to keep your head up high”. To encourage children to aim high and to help boost their confidence, she wrote a book about boosting self esteem and not allowing shyness to stand in the way being your best self. (SB)