Natasha Knoppel Art Galleries presents: Untamable Spirit of the Native Land

Natasha Knoppel Art Galleries is thrilled to announce “Untamable Spirit of the Native Land”
featuring thirty paintings and sculptures by Dominique Hunter, Jason Hope, Fabrice Loval, Carlos V. Garcia, Franklin Delano Pengel, Jona Giovanni, and Ray Daal for the Atlantic World Art Fair 2023. On view on Artsy from June 1st until June 15th 2023, our presentation offers a rare opportunity to immerse oneself in the visual vocabulary of contemporary Caribbean art that is a testament to the diverse historical influences, rich cultural heritage, and creative vitality of the region. It reflects the ongoing dialogue between tradition and innovation, and the dynamic interplay between local and global influences that continue to shape art of the Caribbean, the Atlantic Islands, and their wider diasporas.

The exhibition presents six works by Dominique Hunter (Guyana) who illuminates the experiences of those who embark on what she refers to as “mini migrations” within the Caribbean context. She navigates the spaces between “here” and “there” – anywhere else usually viewed as better than “here” – unraveling the range of emotions that unfold throughout the journey. Her exploration has recently expanded to incorporate the value of self-care practices in improving mental health and quality of life, shedding light on the unexplored facets of vulnerability within the black female experience. Hunter graduated from the E. R. Burrowes School of Art as Best Graduating Student in 2007 and received her BFA from the Barbados Community College in 2015 with first class honours. In addition to securing silver and bronze medals in Castellani House’s 7th and 8th Biennial National Drawing Competition in 2008 and 2010 respectively, she has also secured a silver medal at the Guyana Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition in 2014. She won the gold medal at the Guyana Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition in 2019 for her work “Check-In”, which will be on view on occasion of “Untamable Spirit of the Native Land”

Dominique Hunter

Next, we encounter four entries – 3 paintings and one sculpture- by Jason Hope (Barbados), who explores his identity and perspective at the world as a Barbadian of African descent by seamlessly weaving together elements from his surroundings, including math, science, music, the political and social fabric of society. His expressive and contemporary abstract style, infused with elements of Surrealism, takes form through layered sculptures and paintings, capturing the essence of human forms and the intricate social structures they create. Hope won The Prime Minister’s Award at the National Independence Festival of the Creative Arts in 2013, the 2014 Purchase Award, the Governor General’s Award of Excellence in 2015 and 2016, and the Governor General’s Award in 2015 at the Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition. At the AWAF 2023 Hope presents his Vision series, consisting of three paintings inspired by the 2018 Barbadian political landscape. Besides the Vision series, “Free We Earthen Spirit”, a mixed media sculpture composed of wood, coral render, sawdust and coral dust, that examines the fragmented Barbadian identity post emancipation, is featured.

Jason Hope
Vision Tree

Jason Hope
Free We Earthen Spirit

The exhibition continues with three paintings and one mixed media sculpture by Fabrice Loval (French Guiana), with the Amazon rainforest as dominant theme. Loval draws inspiration from the rainforest’s strength, beauty, and the urgent need to preserve this remarkable environment and the indigenous peoples who call it home. His paintings often intertwine female figures or body parts, embodying nature as feminine, reminiscent of ancestral goddesses. Loval addresses the opposing forces that threaten the survival of the rainforest, including themes as gold mining, appearing in a gold coloured painting that is presented. The mixed media sculpture “La Derrière“ that combines wood, plaster and synthetic textiles, is part of a series that represents a humorous sneer at hunting traditions, a word-play and criticism on the attack of our fauna.

Fabrice Loval

Fabrice Loval
La Derrière

From the Cayman Islands we present one painting titled “The Portal Back to the Evolution” by Carlos V. Garcia. In this painting a Neanderthaler from the past meets a futuristic Android, triggering several immediate interpretations and ethical concerns challenging our on-going modern day innovation and robotization. Born in Honduras, Garcia is a self-taught painter, muralist, and designer whose creations explore the realm of abstract realism. Known for his large-scale murals and mixed-media paintings, Garcia’s work commands attention and dominates the spaces it inhabits. His recent collaboration with one of the largest murals in the Cayman Islands at the Seven Mile Beach along with his involvement in community projects, demonstrates his commitment to using art as a powerful means of expression and community engagement. Garcia is part of the group of representative artists of the Cayman National Gallery that has permanent artwork displayed in this gallery.

Carlos V. Garcia
The Portal Back to the Evolution

Franklin Delano Pengel is a Surinamese born artist who works and lives in Germany. He emerges with a mission to raise critical awareness through his politically and socially motivated paintings. A visionary storyteller, his art serves as a powerful tool to explore history and societal power structures and questions the purpose of well established institutional systems such as education and banking. With three entries for “Untamable Spirit of the Native Land”, his thought-provoking series invite viewers to question their beliefs and reconsider the structures that govern their lives, advocating for justice and freedom. Commanding attention is Pengel’s highly politically charged painting titled “ African Holocaust” that depicts a haunting synopsis of 400 years of slavery history.

Franklin Delano Pengel
African Holocaust

Drawing from his Aucaner background, Giovanni Jona (Suriname), brings a distinctive cultural perspective to his work. Celebrating his ancestral roots, his art captures the dynamic expressions of the human figure. Jona started working on project basis with Natasha Knoppel Art Galleries and his larger paintings are exclusively exhibited by Natasha Knoppel Art Galleries in Rotterdam. Moreover, he was recently invited in 2023 to participate in the artist in residence program BijlmAIR in Amsterdam initiated by CBK Zuidoost where his work is featured in the group exhibition “Knights in Shining Armour “, on view until July 1st 2023. Eight paintings by Jona, bursting with his unique visual vocabulary and characterized by explosive colors, his signature pattern of daring lines and forms, often deconstructed shapes and vibrant
energy, invite the viewer to embark on a journey that transcends cultural boundaries.

Giovanni Jona

Last but certainly not least, four paintings by Ray Daal (Suriname) are presented. Ray Daal’s work is characterized by bold use of colour, with a surprisingly vivid imagination not only in subject matter but also in form. The painting titled “ Global Warming” hints at our global climate urgency, while “ The Belly dancer and her Drummer” draws the viewer into a playful fantasy. “Universe of the Night” depicts two lovers almost merged with intensity Daal captivates audiences with his art, which exuberates the ambiance and richness of Caribbean culture and is inspired by abundantly present nature. Daal’s imaginative forms create an atmosphere that pulsates with energy. Over his career spanning more than three decades, Daal has fearlessly explored various media, continuously pushing the boundaries of his artistic expression. In the 1980s he was part of the art collective Waka Tjopu which aimed to contribute to the cultural identity and society of Suriname. in 1996 / 1997 his work was exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam on occasion of the group exhibition “Twenty Years of Visual Art in Suriname, 1975 – 1985.”

Ray Daal
The Belly Dancer and her Drummer

Ray Daal
Universe of the Night

We agree with the Roman poet Ovid who wrote centuries ago: “Our native land charms us with inexpressible sweetness, and never allows us to forget that we belong to it.” The homeland, the native land, is a very capacious concept in its content. It has a very deep and multifaceted meaning. “Untamable Spirit of the Native Land” speaks to the unique experiences and perspectives, the resilience, creativity, and interconnectedness of our featured artists and their respective cultures. Through their diverse perspectives and artistic skills, these visionary creators invite us to contemplate the complex layers of our world and engage with the innate qualities and challenges that shape our shared humanity. We invite art enthusiasts, collectors, and cultural explorers into the captivating realms of contemporary art from the Caribbean, the Atlantic Islands, and its diaspora to experience the transformative power of art and to celebrate the intricate narratives, bold expressions, and profound visions that define this vibrant art territory.

Natasha Knoppel
Contact information:
Mobile / Whatsapp (Netherlands): +31 (0)6 29012390
Mobile (Suriname): +597 8845278