Thursday. January 27. 2000. The Daily News
History and culture meet art
Olas0 e Lais. w. ecologist. is a
Dovly News conrnilWiing columnist.
He lives on & Coir.
Recently I had the opportunity to
anend one of our local an shows.
Luca Gasperi, an artist and a SL Croix
native son, grew up on a South Shore
This ranch is soic 2.300 acres with
a mixture of shrub aint grass land.
extended fruonm Spring Bay to Fareham
Bay The South Shore Senepol cattle
farm is one of the most beautiful cul-
tural landscape areas on St. Croix with
rolling hills extended us far as the eye
can see. Historically. dIh area grew
cotton later on, it was turned into a
sugar plantation with cane growing
close to the seashore
The sugar mill. great house, bull
pen. slave quarters, and other histori-
cal structures and runs indicate the
rich agricultural and cultural history
that this area has to offer to our local
tourism economy. In fact, the Castle
Nugent farm. within this 2,300 acres
of land, has a bed-and-breakfast busi-
ness which is part of the family fare.
Luca, from 4-years-old. pulled
weeds on the family farm; the farm no
doubt helped shape him. The tranquil-
ity oflhcarea with graingSenepol
canle on open grass land, the northern
rolling hills dotted with Ginger
Thomas flowers, especially during the
fall season, and the coast at the south
of the farm were Luca's window to
nature, to the world of an
St. Croix is fast changing and many
boys and girls will never be able to
enjoy fian life. It's a shame that we
don't realize the valuable lessons
nature has to offer our children. If you
you don't believed this, talk to Luca.
and he will tell you the hard work, fun
and joy of growing up on a farm.
Luca's watercolors arc on display at
the Maria lienle Studio. The art show
focuses on agriculture and explores
the relationship between local famnners
and the environment.
The first painting I stopped to sac
was of Asheha Samuel. In this paint-
ing. she was wearing a knit hit planti-
ng or pulling weeds on her farm. She
is also a storyteller. weed woman, and '
one of the cultural bears of the com-
The next painting was of Ermrol
Chichester. Errol, a horticulturist, is
stooping under mango tree holding a
grafted mango in his hand, with his
dreadlocks hanging over his shoulder.
This painting was one of the first to be
Not so far from the painting of
Errol was one of Henry Carter, an old
farmer, who has a vegetable fann.
Carter said he started growing
plants from age 3 when he used to
help his mother with her kitchen gar-
den until he was 17. From there he
went to New York. Hle said "what a
disaster" with no agriculture in New
York City, only fog and smoke. After
16 years in New York. Carter returned
to St. Croix where he started farming.
Hle said he strongly believes in organ-
ic farming. Fresh organic vegetables
and fruit is the way God intended man
to eat, he said.
The painting shows Carter on his
farm in rubber boots, along with a line
of S-gallon water containers, which be
used for organic juice mixture of his
Not too far from Carter's painting is
one of Helen Gonzales. Gonzales is
believed to be the first fanner on-
island to import the South African
Boer goats. This was done to improve
he local b1eed.
Luca attended a public hearing on
agriculture where he met G(onzales
and Percival Edwards speaking out on
St. Croix agriculture issues. The paint-
ing showed Helen and Edwards stand-
ing next to two large-cared goats.
Abenrra Bulbulla, my co-worker at
the University of the Virgin Islands, is
a horticulturist. Another painting
shows Bulbulla selling fuits and veg-
etables at La Reine famncr's market
early in the morning. Hulhulla is a
master at grating and air-laying fruit
Another of Luca's paintings is of
Gertrude Powell She grows medici-
nal herbs, culinary and ornamental
plants. The products at thi rIll61er's
table make you wint to become a
luge Clark is a honeybee -tumer.
Ile provides unpasteurized, all-nalmal
honey. He is fill of enthusiasm. The
painting of him tells the story of how
he became a fannrmer.
Aziyza Fhmoonah Shabma. is a
natural fannrmer. She lives in the rain
forest area of St. Croix: she has a
gourmet "veggie" catering business.
In this painting. Shahazz is standing
tall and strong on her farm.
Muhammad Shabazz grew up on
his mother's farnn. In the watercolor
of Muhammad, he is pitching fresh
herbs from his garden.
Luca is doing a great service and
showing his love for the people of the
Virgin Islands by preserving the histo-
ry, the environment and culture -
throug his art.
It's important to support artists like
Luca in our community. There is a
closing reception Friday from 4-8
p.m. However, his paintings will be
on display until Feb. 2 at the Maria
llenae Srudio 55 Company SL.
Chrianmcd (abshove ndies Rcsta m ).