Oliver Benoit

Whipping the Mind

Shakespeare Mas is an expression of Carriacou’s cultural heritage performed by two players determined to recite Shakespeare plays in a competitive exchange. While the Mas is unique to Carriacou and has always been admired by its people and visitors from abroad, its meaning has not been questioned. This body of work attempts to look deeper into the performance by deconstructing the Mas for hidden meanings that have evaded our consciousness over the years. These paintings asked us to think of Shakespeare Mas beyond its literary aesthetics.

Biography: The Grenadian artist Oliver Benoit began his career as a landscape and still life painter before devoting his time to the abstract genre. His paintings are in oil, acrylic, and encaustic. His work also includes audio, videos, and installations. It is not difficult to understand the messages conveyed in Oliver’s art, but it might help to understand his background as a social scientist, which sometimes dictates his subject matter for his art. Not only to express the subject matter visually but also to dwell into more in-depth thought on the issues he wishes to explore. There are two dimensions to his work: to provoke and encourage critical thinking from the perspective of viewers particularly problems that tend to impact the lives of people negatively; and to create a sense of pleasure that transcends the subject matter thereby encouraging viewers to go beyond the artist original ideas. Such engagements with his work are stimulated by the way in which Oliver creates his art to continuously perplex viewers. Therefore, Oliver encourages viewers to pay careful attention to his work. There is always more in the work than is initially perceived.