Jeena Chatrani is a young Bajan artist working in acrylics with palette knives and sponges. She has been painting since 2005, however only pursued art as a career in 2015. Since then, she has won many national awards and has helped raise over $150,000 USD for local charities with her art.
Jeena has been featured in several news articles and magazines, and her art has reached the homes of collectors across the world.
Born in Barbados in 1992, I was raised in a very large, very close family. My parents named me Jeena after the Hindu word for life. From a young age I was always interested in nature and had a fascination with lions and tigers. In 2011 I left Barbados to study at the University of Toronto. This is when I realized that I could not stand winter. I missed the ocean, which I had taken for granted. Every vacation I came back home and rushed to the beach. I had a new respect for the sea.
This is where my love for turtles began. With my art, I try to explore what I find interesting: animals (specifically turtles, large cats) and flowers. I also have a strange fascination with shows like CSI and I'm always on the lookout for documentaries that delve into murder mysteries. Constantly watching, reading and listening to crime stories makes you realize just how quickly things can change.
The animals that I'm drawn to, whether coincidentally or not, tend to be endangered animals. I'm very aware that these creatures are on the verge of extinction. In my art, I aim to capture their images on canvas while I still can. My art isn't necessarily meant to speak to their threats or population. I just want to create a positive, energetic image when depicting them. The sole focus of the painting is the animal. I try to respect them and show them in an environment that is void of human presence.
I want people to look at my art and feel happy, optimistic. I want people to look at my art and feel the same sense of awe and respect for the natural world that I do.
In January 2016 I donated this large portrait of Sir Garfield Sobers to the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust. Sir Gary is Barbados' only living National Hero. He is a cricket legend. Playing for the West Indies cricket team in 1958, Sir Gary made 365 runs not out, establishing a new record for the highest individual score in an innings. He held this record for 36 years, when it was broken by Brian Lara, also of the West Indies cricket team in 1994.
The Sandy Lane Charitable Trust holds an auction each year where they raise funds to help improve the lives of disadvantaged children in Barbados. I was introduced to a member of the Trust in late 2015 and decided to donate an original painting to their next auction.
All the stars aligned that night. Sir Gary was turning 80 (a milestone birthday!) that same year. He played in the golf tournament that precedes the auction, and his team won! He also happened to be at the auction that night, AND the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust decided to use my painting of Sir Gary as the final and main live auction piece.
That night, my "Sir Gary On The Greens" painting raised $130,000 USD for the Trust.
The buyer gifted the painting to Sir Gary himself, who had it installed at the Cricket Legends Museum in Barbados.