Local artisan, Leo Brown, proprietor of Leo’s Art Gallery did not allow Hurricane Dorian’s impact to damper his spirits when it came to creating beautiful, unique art work.
In fact, Brown’s latest pieces were envisioned and created as a result of the massive storm, which brought much destruction and devastation to the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco.
This daily had the opportunity to speak with Brown, recently, who is not only known locally and nationally, but world-wide for his work.
Sharing on his latest work, as well as the outpouring of love and support he received from clients, turned friends who asked what they can do to assist in rebuilding the northern islands, Brown said, “The hurricane affected everyone in some way; even from the beginning you would hear people calling in on the radio, in distress.
“Hearing of the rescuers going in and risking their lives to rescue people … at times the storm was so intense that people could not be rescued; it was heartbreaking. Even after the storm I heard so many stories; I will not go into them all, but there were so many persons with stories. Some lost their lives.
“I was just so moved by all of the outpouring of prayers. We had prayers coming in from all over the world and as soon as the Internet was up a lot of people were calling me, asking what they could do to help The Bahamas; what could they do to help Grand Bahama.”
Brown continued, “I, in turn, gave them the information for the Bahamas Red Cross and The Grand Bahama Children’s Home and told them that if they wanted to help The Bahamas, in a financial way, it would be appreciated if they could assist those organizations.
“I also told them that another way that they could help The Bahamas was, when it is okay for them to travel to Grand Bahama and Abaco again, they should travel here. That would be a good way of supporting the country, because we will need those tourists’ dollars to help rebuild the country. By them taking a little vacation here that would also be a great way to support the rebuilding of Grand Bahama and Abaco.”
Brown recalled that he began his first piece post-Hurricane Dorian about a day or two after the Category 5 hurricane made landfall (September 1, 2019) on Grand Bahama.
He shared, in detail, about his first piece, entitled ‘Dorian,’ which depicts Hurricane Dorian, hovering over the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco.
“The (depiction) hurricane itself and the water were all done with a pallet knife; a special knife that artists use. The map of Florida was actually little dots. I paint a lot with dots and the use of knives. The dot painting is called stippling,” he explained.
Brown noted that he used the colours of the Bahamian flag for the pieces, and it took about two months, in total, to complete both.
His second piece created post-Hurricane Dorian entitled, ‘In the Eye of Hurricane Dorian’ holds incredible meaning and depicts the strength and resilience of Bahamians, at their best.
He shared why he decided to use the colours of the Bahamian flag for the gentlemen’s attire in the painting as they strategically worked in tandem, to hoist the flag in the eye of the storm.
“The reason I chose to use the Bahamian flag colours for their attire is because I hope that when Bahamians see it, it will give them a good sense of patriotism, because we are resilient people and we will overcome. God wants us to be at the top and not at the bottom. God will lift us up, and we will rise again. We will rebuild and be even stronger and better than before,” the artist said.
Noting that the odds were against Grand Bahamians during the storm, Brown added, “Had it not been for the Lord on our side, more people would have died. The two men, holding the Bahamian flag, climbing towards Heaven through the eye of Hurricane Dorian is symbolic of all the prayers going up to God, for Abaco and Grand Bahama, during the storm.
“Hurricane Dorian was the worst recorded hurricane in the history of the world. Dorian tied as the strongest Atlantic land falling hurricane on record. Water levels rose as high as 18 to 23 feet above sea level and produced 12 to 24 inches of flooding from rainfall, with winds of 185mph. That ties the 1935 Labour Day hurricane in the Florida Keys, as the strongest land falling hurricane in the Atlantic Basin.
“Bahamians are resilient people. We fall down, then get back up again. We will rebuild and be better than we were before. Trials come to make us stronger; if God is on our side the impossible becomes possible,” said Brown.