Art in the open | Round trip

Year-round, across the Caribbean, you can experience art in the street, in public spaces, out in the open — no need to buy a museum ticket. Here are murals, monuments, and even an impromptu art gallery in Port-au-Prince

  • 1. Paintings by Baptiste Jonas on display in Port-au-Prince. Photo by Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
  • 2. Venezuelan artist Jésus Soto (1923–2005) interactive Penetrable sculpture, Francisco Fajardo highway in Caracas. Photo by paolo costa/
  • 3. The 1763 Monument by Guyanese artist Philip Moore (1921–2012), Georgetown’s Square of the Revolution. Photo by Imagebroker/Alamystockphoto
  • 4. Roadside benches across Barbados. Art by Simone Padmore. Photo courtesy Fresh Milk
  • 5. Art by Matthew Clarke. Photo courtesy Fresh Milk
  • 6. Art by Mark King. Photo courtesy Fresh Milk
  • 7. Art by Versia Harris. Photo courtesy Fresh Milk
  • 8. University of the West Indies Mona campus in Jamaica, mural by Belgian artist Claude Rahir (1937–2007). Photo by Jeff Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images
  • 9. The ANSI Cafard Slavery Memorial, Martinique. Created by sculptor Laurent Valére in 1998. Photo by Hemis/Alamy Stock Photo

It’s a common sight in Port-au-Prince: informal outdoor galleries set up by working artists like Baptiste Jonas, who displays his paintings in the Petionville neighbourhood, hung salon-style on a chain-link fence. All are available for sale, or simply to catch the eyes of passing traffic.

Born in Ciudad Bolívar, the Venezuelan artist Jésus Soto (1923–2005) is famous for his interactive Penetrable sculptures, in which flexible hanging tubes create geometric forms that viewers can enter. Like this red sphere, which floats along the Francisco Fajardo highway in Caracas.

Officially known as the 1763 Monument, towering above Georgetown’s Square of the Revolution, this sculpture by pioneering Guyanese artist Philip Moore (1921–2012) depicts the rebel leader Cuffy, mastermind of a rebellion against slavery in the colony of Berbice. The statue’s intricately carved surfaces include West African and Amerindian symbols of strength and power.

Devised by the Fresh Milk art centre in 2014, the Fresh Stops project commissioned six young artists to produce original artworks to be incorporated into roadside benches across Barbados. Works by Simone Padmore (image 4) Matthew Clarke (image 5), Mark King (image 6), Versia Harris (image 7), and others put provocative imagery literally behind the backs of commuters across the island.

A landmark of the University of the West Indies Mona campus in Jamaica, the mural by Belgian artist Claude Rahir (1937–2007) — completed in 1979 — adorns the façade of the Assembly Hall. Three stories high, it depicts the university’s eight faculties alongside images of children at school and at play.

On Martinique’s southwest coast, the Anse Cafard Slavery Memorial is an unforgettable reminder of the Caribbean’s tragic past. Created by sculptor Laurent Valére in 1998, the memorial’s hulking concrete figures — each eight feet tall and staring out to sea — depict a group of Africans drowned nearby in 1830, shackled together in the hold of a slave ship. The figures’ posture suggests a powerful sorrow, while their rough-hewn faces project a determination to survive.