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T he [sic] Melhado Room of the OPA Reggae Mill Bar was transformed this week for the premiere of Art Wednesdays, the inspired #NoCommission exhibition series that was first started by spirits brand Bacardi and US producer Swizz Beatz to afford artists the ability to earn — in full — the profits made from their exhibitions.
Debut guest presenter, dentist Dr Roberta Dewar kick-started the premiere showcasing the very best of her acrylic paintings that explored silence, sobriety, odysseys and sensuality — a wealth of motifs that were richly executed.
Director of Opa Reggae Mill Bar Alexx Antaeus, the conceptualiser of the Jamaican version of the show, underscored his support of local artists.
“That’s what’s significant about what we are doing; we are not keeping any commission. Every proceed, sale of the artwork,will go straight to the artist,” he said.
“We were influenced to do this by the so-called No Commission Art Wednesday by Swizz Beatz. This room [the Melhado Room] will become a gallery which we’ll have every Wednesday for as long as people support us, and our goal is not to make money from this but to help the artists get exposure and money so they can continue their work,” Antaeus shared.
Debut guest exhibitor Dr Roberta Dewar was grateful to be selected to start the programme.
“It’s a little unbelievable but I’m very honoured and grateful. It feels surreal, but I embrace it and give thanks to Alexx for this wonderful initiative. I think it’s very, very wonderful that artists are able to have this platform to display their work. Art is a very closeted thing; you can stay in the studio and make art but there’s a whole other side to it: that aspect of how you get your art out to people. You can be there painting and feel joy, but it will be more joyous when you share it with the world,” she remarked.
She also shared her inspiration and what ultimately led her to create a full show.
“I started off with body images. Some of them are series, connected to each other. I have about six pieces with body images and what actually inspired that is a friend, who’s a model, who had sent me one of her pictures once and asked me to draw it. It was a bit intense, and I thought ‘how can I translate it?’ and when I did, it came together very quickly, and in a couple hours I was done.”
“That’s how I actually do a lot of my pieces. I start, and once I’m in the right frame of mind and have the right inspiration, I’ll finish it in one sitting.”
Dewar noted that she draws inspiration from “life, people, other artists and just about anything”.
Opening night for Art Wednesdays did just the same, and we commend Dewar and Antaeus. Dewar’s work, as will successive artists’, remains on display for the entire week for viewing and can be purchased at Opa. Saturday Social looks back at key moments from the premiere.