Alwyn St. Omer
Born at Castries, Saint Lucia in 1958, Alwyn St. Omer was inspired by the work of his father, the late Sir Dunstan St. Omer a widely acclaimed international artist of Saint Lucian origins and by his mother Lady Cynthia, she encouraged him by providing a regular supply of art materials.
Alwyn was also inspired by the plentiful supply of art and other picture books around the house and at about age six, was introduced to Comics, including the Illustrated Classics, which fueled his appetite, not only for graphic design and painting, but also for folktales and storytelling in a pictorial format. Growing up in an artistic environment with nostrils tuned to oil paints, provided further stimulus.
As a young aspiring artist he was also privileged to witness plays performed by a famous local theatrical company, the Saint Lucia Arts Guild, adding a dimension of realism to what he saw and read in the books and comics. He was enamoured by plays steeped in the island’s rich folk and musical traditions that included some of the early works of the island’s Nobel Laureate, Poet Derek Walcott and his playwright, twin brother Roderick.
It is from this launching pad that Alwyn, the artist and storyteller was thrust into orbit, a creative artist with very deep passion and lifelong desire to document his island’s cultural heritage through his drawings and paintings. For him rediscovery and preservation of all the treasures forming the formidable expanse loosely termed Saint Lucian folklore would be his life’s achievement. Its art, myths, writings and traditions, its National Theatre, all housed in one monumental edifice.
Alwyn is master draughtsman and incredibly accomplished and versatile artist, colourist, defining and refining images in a style that is uniquely his own, he studied Art at the Edna Manley School for Visual Arts in Jamaica and Video production and Audio Visuals at Portsmouth College in England. His work is numerous including paintings in Acrylic and oil on canvas, Pen and Ink illustrations and Wall Murals. Of note are his Moon Dancer Masquerade and Dreams series of abstract paintings, National Stamp Designs, Television productions, Book illustrations, the design of Saint Lucia’s National Independence Monument and Soucoyan, a Graphic Novel on St Lucian Folktales. The “Moon Dancer” Masquerade series of paintings is an attempt in painting, to revive interest in and to save the lost Masquerade tradition of St Lucia, as a medium to acknowledge the islands rich biodiversity and to promote the concept for the preservation of our natural and cultural heritage.
Alwyn is the Feature Artist and Creative Director of St. Omer Art Institute, with a list of publications under his belt, including Sands Tourism Magazine, the CIMPEX Home Companion Magazine and the Wakonté series of children’s colouring books and comics. A former Television Producer and Carnival Band Leader and Designer. As a painter, Alwyn specializes in Abstract Art, landscape Paintings and Murals.
By Alwyn St. Omer
Soucoyan, a graphic tale, by Alwyn St. Omer may not be the first of its kind in the region moreover, definitely not in this hemisphere. However, it is one that takes an inward look at our origins – at the source of our fables – to distill their old alchemy in a new genre, infusing it with a freshness of time and place. The characters from these fables hounded our childhood, at some stage or other with a fear that always seemed to crystallize on full moon nights, but by some unimaginable twist remaining always in the shadows.
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