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Island Icon and Painter Llewelynn Xavier

Llewelynn Xavier is a St. Lucian painter who creates masterpieces.

June 22, 2020
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Llewellyn Xavier
Llewellyn Xavier may live on an island, but his artwork can be found around the globe. Belle Portwe Photography/Daniel Marcon

St. Lucian painter Llewellyn Xavier has artworks in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. To see his work on his home island, however, you need to schedule a visit with the man himself at his scenic hillside studio in Cap Estate, at the northernmost point of St. Lucia.

“I can see the entire island, all the way down to the Pitons,” he says. “It’s an amazing panorama.”

During the past four decades, Xavier’s artwork has provided a virtual panorama of St. Lucia’s flora, fauna and folklore, and reflected his passion for protecting the fragile environment of the Caribbean islands and beyond. (It also earned him the Order of the British Empire.) His thickly textured abstract oil paintings employ a luminous palette that, as he describes it, reflects “the light and life of the Caribbean.”

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“St. Lucia is a natural paradise,” he says. “Its colors—the incredible turquoise of the sea, the amazing green forests—are very inspiring to me.”

How does it feel to be regarded as St. Lucia’s premier artist? It’s a humbling position to be in. When young, aspiring artists come to me, I emphasize the positive aspects of what they’re doing. I encourage them to paint, to go to art school, to develop their own craft at their own pace.

You’re the driving force behind the nascent St. Lucia Sculpture Park. What is its mission? It’s the brainchild of myself and my wife, Christina. The idea was to establish a sculpture park that encompasses the whole island and features artists of every description, whose work reflects the culture and history of St. Lucia… In 2020, we’ll have the installation of the island’s first art-pole project, in the Roseau Valley. These 16-foot poles will feature St. Lucian scenes by my wife, who paints under the name Fleur.

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Llewellyn’s list for St. Lucia

The Pitons (Soufriere): This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see for anyone coming to St. Lucia.

Bayside Restaurant (Soufriere): It’s at the Sugar Beach Resort, which has the finest dining on the island. This excellent restaurant is right on the beach. It has a professional staff and a world-class chef.

Big Chef and Lil’ Chef (Rodney Bay): Big Chef serves excellent steak and fish, while Lil’ Chef does an international take on tapas.

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