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A focus on the 2021 edition of the island’s celebrated Art Week, and challenges encountered by Artists of St Barth in an art market burgeoning with success.

Champions of the local art scene, the non-profit association, Artists of St Barth, was created in 2016. It represents more than 60 artists, supporting and promoting their original work, often inspired by the island. Scheduled around the Thanksgiving holiday, November 22-December 2, 2021, Art Week 2021 decided to accent renowned fashion photographers and focus on aestheticism, echoing a trend among art collectors. The exhibits continue through December 30, 2021.

A REFLECTION OF VALUES ~ “We sell more sculpture, but why? Because when you think of large villas you think of large glass doors and there is very little wall space, while sculptures stand proudly outside on decks. What clients are looking for is art that reflects the values of the island, and conveys the spirit of Saint Barth,” remarks Emmanuel Leprince, director of the association. An observation that clearly defines the challenges met by Artists of St Barth, while next to private swimming pools there are myriad sculptures created by local artists, individual acquisitions or strategically placed for one of the association’s photo shoots. “Our website supports interactive dialogue: we are in constant contact with villa owners. We help the artists sell their work, either by way of the website or in our gallery at Pati de St Barth in Saint Jean.” And the recipe for “what sells” has become increasingly defined, according to Emmanuel Leprince: a mix of elegance and simplicity, reflecting the island and its history, how Saint Barth overcame its difficult past to become a luxury destination. “This is often evoked in art that has a connection with nature or the sea; luminous works of art… We are after all on a small land mass where many natural elements are ubiquitously present.”

Gallerie Pati-de-St-Barth

TEN OPENING RECEPTIONS ~ This year, Artists of St Barth—in partnership with the Territorial Tourism Committee and the Collectivité de Saint-Barthélemy— chose the period around Thanksgiving to hold Art Week, the most renowned and popular artistic event on the island, giving it as much visibility as possible. “Art Week usually runs for one week. The first year, in 2019, five hotels participated, in 2020 six… each hotel had an artist in residence for the week. This year, all of the five- star hotels on the island raised their hand.” The 2021 edition, featuring ten successive opening receptions for the general public, focuses on the theme of fashion photography, an artform that is omnipresent on the island. “This time, there are not only photographers from the island, but also others from New York, from Paris, including some of the most well-known. Our president, Antoine Verglas, a fashion photographer in New York, came up with the idea.” A celebration of fashion photography which is not only the singular event of its kind, but also confirms the status of the island on the international art scene.

Eric Demrchelier.


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