Artist Alton Lowe and writer Sandra Riley were very pleased with the turnout for their book signing event held at The Sand Dollar Shoppe on February 15. More than 100 people braved the rainy, cold weather to attend the function and support the work of these two talented people.
The goal of the evening was to present the new edition of their book ‘The Lucayan Taino; First People of The Bahamas’ to the public and to promote sales. All proceeds from the sale of this special edition will be used to jump start the fundraising efforts for a monument memorializing the Lucayan people to be placed in a central area of Marsh Harbour or Dundas Town.
Mr. Lowe and Ms. Riley were very pleased at the amount of books purchased during the event which also continued during the following day. “I am amazed that so many people came out in the rain,” stated Mr. Lowe. All copies purchased during these two days were signed by both artist and author.
This superb book ‘The Lucayan Taino’ is the result of 30 plus years of research by Sandra Riley into the life and culture of the Lucayan settlers and has been beautifully enhanced by the inclusion of many vibrant and well researched paintings by local artist Alton Lowe. The first edition of the book was produced in 1991 for The Bahamas Quincentennial but the new edition has been greatly enriched by additional research resulting in 40 additional pages and additional paintings.
“I have been as accurate as I possibly can because the history books which the children learn from in school are wrong and I like to get facts straight,” stated author Riley. The book also contains a glossary of Taino words, giving important insight into their culture. Also included in the new edition is a DVD by Travis Neff; a docudrama based on the novella which is a dramatic exploration of the Lucayan Taino.
Daphne de Gregory, of Abaco Neem, was delighted to have purchased one of these special editions and to support the artists. “This is valuable information everyone should have, it is a great piece of Bahamian literature,” she commented. Bru Brubaker, a frequent boater to Green Turtle Cay, also expressed his delight in the book describing it as ‘spellbinding’. “It is a very enlightening history of The Lucayans and the pictures are stunning,” he stated.
On display was an eye catching bronze sculpture by James Mastin, long-time friend of Mr. Lowe and frequent visitor to Green Turtle Cay. This model depicts a Taino family dancing in the water with the dolphins celebrating life and is the pre-cast for the life sized monument which will be created when sufficient funds have been raised.
The bronze sculpture will then be placed in a public place as a monument to the Taino people all over the world. “We think this monument will create tremendous publicity for The Bahamas as there is no monument to the Lucayans anywhere in the world,” stated Ms. Riley and Mr. Lowe.
Sandra Riley is a historian, playwright, director, teacher and scholar and has written a previous history of The Bahamas, historical novels and also all the plaques for the Memorial Sculpture Garden at Green Turtle Cay. She assisted in the excavations of the Carleton Loyalist Settlement and the Miami Circle.
Alton Lowe is a seventh generation Abaconian born on Green Turtle Cay. He is a world renowned artist with paintings in notable private collections throughout the world. He received his education in art in Miami and New York City but, fortunately for Abaco and The Bahamas, he maintains his principal residence at his Green Turtle Cay home.
Mr. Lowe founded the Albert Lowe Museum and also the Loyalist Sculpture Garden on Green Turtle Cay.
Twenty two of Mr. Lowe’s paintings were also on display and were admired by the patrons of this special event. His paintings are stunning with vibrant colours, attention to detail and his remarkable technique gives them an almost three dimensional quality. One feels one could actually feel the velvety texture of his flower petals and smell their fragrance they are so realistic.
As with the painting of his family pet, the dog, it was hard to resist going up to stroke it. His seascapes, landscapes and Junkanoo characters also elicited great praise from his admirers for their brilliant true to life almost photographic quality. Artist Anthony Morley is a great admirer of Mr. Lowe’s work and described him as one of the world’s finest also praising the fact that he has stayed at home and paints Bahamian subjects. “His colours are vibrant and his pictures jump off the wall,” he stated.
Another artist, Claudette Dean, was visiting from Freeport. She describes herself as a ‘modern mystical’ artist which, she says, is very different from Alton’s work but she is a big fan of his. ‘I love his work and his flowers are an especial favourite of mine. I also love his landscapes many of which have a dreamy, fairy tale feeling”, she commented.
The books, ‘The Lucayan Taino, The First People of The Bahamas’, will continue to be on sale at The Sand Dollar Shoppe in Marsh Harbour with all proceeds going towards the Lucayan monument. They will also be on sale at the Albert Lowe Museum on Green Turtle Cay. Mr. Lowe and Ms. Riley hope to organize further book signings and also the showing of the film.