Bajan Artist Balances Fantasy and Reality

1 min read

Bajan Versi Harris has always been interested in the thin line of fantasy and reality,ever since she was a child. Her favourite TV character was the Little Mermaid. “I remember going to the beach and trying to swim like a mermaid,” she says. “I was five years old. Looking back on it, I was taking fantasy . . . and trying to make it reality.”

So it was no surprise when she gravitated towards becoming an artist. It all came naturally to her being that her mother was a dancer, and her father loved the performing arts, travelling as an actor with theater production companies in the Caribbean. Her cousins were also an influential force.

Versia Harris lives and works in Weston, St. James, Barbados. In 2012, she graduated with a BFA in Studio Art from the Barbados Community College, with an award from the Lesley’s Legacy Foundation. She has since participated in four residencies regionally and internationally and her work has been shown in Moscow and Berlin. Her animation ‘They Say You Can Dream a Thing More Than Once’ was awarded Best New Media Film at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, 2014. Versia creates perceptions of fantasy in contrast to the reality of characters of her own invention. She uses Adobe Photoshop to manipulate her drawings to create animations.

Prior to finishing her studies at the Barbados Community College, she also participated in a local Projects. When many young graduates were struggling with their new-found independence, Versia worked hard and her ambition led her to earn the Lesley’s Legacy Foundation award for the top graduating student.

In 2014, she was selected to participate in the IV Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. While in Moscow, Harris also noticed a relationship between the art created by practitioners in the Caribbean region and works made elsewhere: “I saw that work coming out of the Caribbean could fit in with work produced in other parts of the world. A lot of younger artists are moving away from what people might think is typically Caribbean-looking art. Young artists are not dealing with issues of Caribbeanness and colonialism. I feel like we are searching for connections.”

In her work Versia incorporates unreal or fanciful image or idea, whose origins are traced back to ancient Greek mythology and Walt Disney’s characters, who inhabit a fanciful world, the world of fairy tales, dreams and fanciful wishes.

As both art-maker and supporter, Versia Harris is making a splash in the art world. Watch out for this up and coming rising star.

The image below is just one of Versia’s drawings.

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Keysha Pierre

I am a wife and mother of 3 beautiful boys. I have a passion for knowledge and writing. I am an avid reader of all book genres and I am a proud St.Lucian.

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