By Lindsey Turnbull
A brilliant showcase of two years of hard work, Yonier Powery’s ‘Innovate’ exhibition is currently being held at a pop-up Awardart gallery site where the Mac store used to be, opposite Books and Books, and it is well worth a viewing.
Yonier is a well-known and much-admired artist whose detailed paintings have taken inspiration from his environment but showcase a much deeper understanding of issues of our time, such as pollution, caring for the environment and the wisdom of the elderly. This latest exhibition has taken his artistic talent to a new level, with 16 pieces of sculpture creating a 3-D study of innovation at all different stages.
It’s not been an easy collection to create, Yonier said.
“They are very complex pieces because I’ve mixed ceramics with metal and you take a lot of risks. There are some very challenging pieces,” he said.
The collection has been a dream come true for the artist, having wanted to experiment with ceramics for a long time.
“I had been planning to do sculpture for about seven years and so I’ve been trying to find the right time for this,” he confirmed. “I bought a ceramics kiln and I learnt a lot more about ceramics and metal. It took me a while to try and see how it all works. I loved the challenge and when I come up with an idea, I really want it to challenge me. I’m trying to put into 3-D all of my ideas that I have for painting. I think people can see more detail; they can move around.”
Pushing the boundaries with the seemingly gravity-defying sculptures of innovators on fantasy bicycles, out-of-this-world flying machines and giant creatures from the ocean, Yonier said he had been working outside his comfort zone, with some of the intricate pieces taking months to create. Innovators such as Elon Musk, the space travel and Tesla entrepreneur, have been an inspiration for this creative artist.
“I love the idea of space travel, so, for a long time I’ve wanted to do something inspired by space using my style. I did the drawings and thought, let me see if I can take it to ceramics,” he said.
The artwork displays incredible movement and perpetuation, which Yonier said was a reflection of his own quest to move forwards with his art and do work outside the box.
Yonier followers will note some more traditional pieces in his sculptures that are more reflective of his usual artwork, such as The Great Fisherman, which is a beautifully intricate piece of a fisherman trawling for plastic items from the sea.
“The fisherman isn’t only there to get fish, sometimes we have to go to the sea to do some work with all this pollution and contamination,” Yonier stated. “That’s why I called this The Great Fisherman; it’s not only about catching the big fish; it’s about clearing the ocean of pollution also.”
In a similar vein, The Way of Wisdom depicts a fisherman on top of a giant turtle holding scripts with words that reflect human values, such as ‘Love’, ‘Integrity’ and ‘Discipline’ and virtues such as ‘Creativity’, ‘Knowledge’, ‘Work’ and ‘Ideas’, all values and virtues that Yonier holds dear.
Gallery owner Avril Ward said as her Awardart Gallery was currently displaced due to issues arising from the Covid crisis, the pop-up location at Camana Bay had been the perfect spot to showcase Yonier’s work.
“We’d planned this exhibition from the beginning of the year, but with the lock down happening, I said to Yonier we had better look for somewhere else just in case. It’s actually works brilliantly,” she said.
This foresight meant she was able to secure the spot for the six weeks that the exhibition will be up and running.
Yonier will be at the Gallery every Saturday working on ceramics and they especially encourage children to come and watch the artist at work.
“It’s one thing to come and see the end piece but to actually watch him make it is really exciting,” Avril said.
The exhibition is open Thursday to Sunday, 12 noon to 5.30pm until 6th December.