How a New Print Sale Is Aiding St. Vincent’s Recovery Effort

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It’s been about two months since La Soufrière, a volcano near the northern coast of St. Vincent, covered much of the Caribbean island in ash; effecting rolling blackouts and water outages and driving thousands of people from their homes. After a year in which the Vincentian economy—which relies heavily on tourism—had been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, the situation there has been dire, and recovery slow.

This month, a small band of Caribbean artists is doing its part to help. Spearheaded by the Nevis-born photographer Kacey Jeffers, a print sale in support of the Rotary Club of St. Vincent begins today, ending on June 21. 

The 8” x 10” works—priced at $75 each—run the gamut from joyful portraits to moving still-lifes, affirming not only the transcendent beauty of St. Vincent and its neighboring islands, but the talents of the creatives from that area, too. (Jeffers arranged the sale in collaboration with Diversify Photo, a New York-based collective of BIPOC and non-western photographers, photo producers, and editors.)

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Adriana Parrilla, Untitled, 2018.

Courtesy of the artist

Among the contributors to the sale—who include Jeffers, the Puerto Rican photojournalist Adriana Parrilla, the Bajan-born, Paris-based photographer and director Fabien Montique, and others—is the St. Vincent-based photographer Nadia Huggins, with whom Jeffers connected early on. “I had seen her stuff, and I knew that she was on the ground,” he says. “We could all rally behind her and help with the efforts to bring some relief to the people there.”

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Huggins, who movingly documented the April 9 eruption on her Instagram, describes the utter surreality of that morning and its aftermath. “There was an arc of emotions in that kind of situation,” she says. “You’re staring up at this explosion in awe, which I think most of the people on the island were doing; we were all just so taken aback by just how incredible that ash cloud was going up. But I don’t think it registered with everybody that, like, wait a minute, this thing has to come down at some point.” When the ash did fall, it traveled as far as Barbados; totally transforming the Vincentian landscape. “It looked like somebody just kind of desaturated all the color,” she says.

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