“Janice keeping art alive”

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There is absolutely no doubt that she was born with an amazing creative mind. Like most children, she would always look forward for any opportunity to paint, draw and make pictures out of magazine cut-outs.

However, unlike most children who grow up and put away the art books and interest in art, Janice Whittle’s love for the arts never left her. To this day, her love for painting, sculpture, fashion design – in fact, anything involving the fine arts – is as fresh as it was when she was a primary school student at Smith’s Preparatory School, located back then at River Road, on the outskirts of The City.

Throughout her early days she was encouraged by her parents to hone her art skills. Art teachers in whose classes she sat at Queen’s College did the same. These included well established artists such as Joyce Davis and Goldie Spieler.

“As a child I loved being able to invent. Art always enabled me to be inventive. Part of the art curriculum at Queen’s College included the history of art which I enjoyed,” she recalled.

“Art history for me was like reading a detective novel. It taught me how to look at a work of art and see the influences of earlier artists, the society in which the artists lived as well as how to ‘read’ a work of art aesthetically. I also remember as a child how my dad, who lived in the United Kingdom for a while, would send me lots of magazines. I was always fascinated by the pictures.”

Whittle is much more than an artist. She has been an art teacher for 20 years, is a mentor to budding artists, and has held the post of curator at Queen’s Park Art Gallery for the past 17 years. This gallery is run by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), which has done outstanding work in developing the arts in Barbados. (CH)

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