The Turks and Caicos Islands are a unique necklace of 40 low lying islands and cays, with only 8 of the islands being inhabited by people. It is the home of multi award-winning artist Jean Taylor.
Jean Taylor was born in Freeport, Grand Bahama to Mrs. Louise and Christopher Gardiner from Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands. Her parents had decided to return to their home country after living in The Bahamas for many years. It was there that Jean became captivated by the beauty of Grand Turk, the nation's capital.
It was a place where roosters, chickens, donkeys and goats would stroll graciously along the dirt roads that were covered with salt that would glitter like diamonds in the midday sun. They connected small wooden houses that were brightly painted where children played 'island games' all the day long. The light house, salt ponds and turquoise ocean which lay just a few yards from her home had fascinated Jean so much that at a tender age she would make sketches with crayon on paper and even on the walls of her home. The encouragement of her late parents, in particular her mother who demonstrated a strong faith in God, helped to create a perfect environment for Jean's talent to not only germinate but grow.
Jean continued sketching for the next 10 years in pencil, crayon, charcoal, and pen and ink as she continued to be inspired by the beauty of Grand Turk. She would often show off her sketches to anyone she met. This had led to her sketches being showcased at the Grand Turk historic Victoria Public Library when she was just 17 years old. Jean eventually transitioned to painting when she met the late Mr. John Shearer who sponsored her in the 1988 Miss Turks and Caicos local beauty pageant. Mr. Shearer encouraged her to continue to develop her art and even assisted her in getting the materials she had needed to do so.
Jean worked diligently as she travelled throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands where she not only noted the distinct and unique characteristics of each island but also the similarities and how they complimented each other. The beautiful natural heritage of the Turks and Caicos Islands – it’s crystal turquoise waters, clear blue skies, gorgeous sunsets, spectacular underwater life, enchanting traditional houses, historic sites, sugar beaches, and friendly people has led Jean to conclude that it is the perfect recipe for island paradise so much so that even today she proudly depicts these characteristics in her paintings.
Jean, a self taught artist, had only been painting for 3 years when her friend, artist Ianthe Williams-Scott, asked her to forward one of her paintings just to see how Jean had been progressing. At the time Jean had thought nothing of it so she sent Ianthe her least favourite painting. What Jean had not known was that Ianthe would submit her least favourite painting to an exhibition competition. To Jean's surprise it was one of the top five selected from a plethora of island-wide entries and Jean became one of 5 artists chosen to represent the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Carib Art Exhibition, Curacao. That painting entitled “Horses in the Meadow”, placed first in the Turks and Caicos category. This certainly gave Jean lots of confidence as she continued to paint in her spare time whilst balancing work and family life. Through faith, confidence, patience, diligence and love Jean's successes grew and resulted in the following :-
1992- Received the highest vote by art critics and art historians in the Turks and Caicos Islands category at the Caribbean Art Exhibition ‘Carib Art’ held in Curacao Dutch Antilles.
1993 - Painting was selected (open competition) for a Christmas card design for Cable & Wireless now known as Flow.
2000 - Open Competition – Aids Awareness Poster – 1st Place.
2012 - Painting was selected by The Turks and Caicos Islands Premier and was featured on the 2012 Christmas Card.
2014 - Bruno Art Gallery, Grand Turk
1991 - Project Discovery Exhibition- Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.
1993 - UNESCO “Carib Art” Curacao Dutch Antilles.
2001 - “Carib Art” Santo Domingo.
2003 - Bush Art Exhibition – Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.
2008 - TCI Arts & Crafts Cultural Festival- Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.
2012 - Ledbetter Galleries, Florida, USA.
2013 - Black History & Culture Showcase, Philadelphia, USA.
2014 - Black History & Culture Showcase, Philadelphia, USA.
2018 - Black History & Culture Showcase, Philadelphia, USA.
2004 - 2005 – Member of the Turks and Caicos Culture and Arts Commission.
2014 - Vice President Providenciales Beach Vendors Association
Jean has appeared in several notable newspapers, magazines and television interviews in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and internationally such as Pompano Today Magazine and the Porthole Magazine.
Jean has been painting for more than 20 years. Her paintings not only grace many private homes, villas and resorts in the Turks and Caicos Islands including the Governor’s House in Nation’s Capital Grand Turk and the 5 Star Parrot Cay Resort but also around the world.
When asked why she decided to join the caribArt regional platform this is what Jean had to say:
" I had recently returned from Philadelphia after participating in the African American History Culture Showcase and began searching online for an opportunity to attend another show. Whilst searching for other exhibitions in the USA suddenly this notice popped up on my screen, "caribArt calling Caribbean Artists". I instantly got flashback of the Carib Art show I had attended some 25 years ago in Curacao where my painting was published in the UNESCO Art Catalogue (page 247). I thought to myself that this must be God! So I went to the caribArt website and submitted my interest in participating in the London exhibition via the web-form. They loved my work and gave me the opportunity to participate in the caribArt Exhibition, London 2018 which is a different entity from the UNESCO Carib Art exhibition I had participated in so many years ago.. I feel so blessed and excited to meet the project director of this timely exhibition, my Caribbean brothers and sisters in the diaspora, and to showcase my beautiful unspoiled islands through my paintings to the world!"
Come out and see the work of this proud Turks & Caicos islander! Do subscribe to our page and follow us on our social media links at the bottom of this page to get the latest updates as we approach our grand exhibition 25th - 28th June, LONDON 2018