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PUNCH Creative Arena, a new initiative for creative action in Barbados

An opening at PUNCH creative arena

An opening at PUNCH creative arena

PUNCH Creative Arena is a new initiative for creative action launched in Barbados in October 2013.  Centered in the Division of Fine Arts at the Barbados Community College, PUNCH’s aim is to  bridge the gap between students, faculty and the wider community by showcasing and interrogating creative practice with a multi-disciplinary focus on local, regional and international production.

The launch of PUNCH coincided with the first Division of Fine Arts Alumni exhibition, “Continuum,” which presented the work of twenty eight artists representing twenty years of art education at the institution. This show, which will become an annual event on PUNCH’s calendar, was followed by a solo exhibition of the work of painter Alison Chapman Andrews.  Entitled “Landscape Revisited,” the exhibition was divided into seven sections, each devoted to a particular location or landscape theme in Barbados that the artist has revisited at various points throughout her four-decade long career. The accompanying catalogue contains an essay by Therese Hadchity.

Exhibitions scheduled for the coming year include “Paint,” a new body of photographs by Eric Belgrave. Belgrave presents microcosmic studies of the mottled surfaces of palettes by well-established painters as the by-products of creative process that bear traces of artistic identities and processes.  Also on the schedule is “Carnevale” by artist Kraig Yearwood as well as the annual Portfolio exhibition of work by graduating students.

Under the direction of BCC faculty members Ewan Atkinson and Allison Thompson, PUNCH emerges at a time when the local art community has recently lost two important exhibition spaces – the government run Queen’s Park Gallery which closed in 2012 for “renovations” (although to date, no progress has been made) and the privately run Zemicon Gallery which was an important fixture on the contemporary art scene for ten years.  Images from recent PUNCH shows can be seen at


While the Queen’s Park Gallery, located in the historic Queen’s House in Queen’s Park, Bridgetown closed for renovations in 2011, the National Cultural Foundation moved the gallery’s operations to a smaller space in the Pelican Craft Centre in Bridgetown. This space is still referred to as the Queen’s Park Gallery and continues to organize exhibitions, often in collaboration with other sites where necessary. The article referred to the loss of important « exhibition spaces. » Indeed a number of other venues including the Queen’s Park Gallery at Pelican Village, the Barbados Arts Council also at Pelican Village and the Caribbean Gallery of Art in Speightstown continue to organize exhibitions.


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