With his recent appearance with Grenada’s first Official National Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Asher Mains is an emerging voice in the Southern Caribbean that is worth noting. Having shown work in his home country of Grenada over the past 20 years, Mains has also shown in New York, Berlin, Barbados, Shanghai, and Rio de Janeiro.
Brené Brown says that, “To become fully human means learning to turn my gratitude for being alive into some concrete common good.” This sentiment was at the heart of the Painted Portraits for Cocoa Farmers Project. Spending time on and giving painted portraits to the farmers was a way of connecting with them by giving them something in return for the work that they have already done in producing cocoa and chocolate. Subverting the traditional model of portraiture and patronage meant exploring generosity and exchange in art. It had also lead to exploring vulnerability, intimacy and human exchanges beyond market transactions.
Primarily a representational painter, Mains uses art objects to initiate dialogue and experiences. In the next year, Mains will be working on a material exploration for art making involving materials that can be sourced entirely within Grenada, reducing the dependence on the importing of cost-restrictive art media. To have a more effective conversation about the development of art in Grenada, Mains believes that the material we use to make the art says as much as the content.