My Heart is Here

Brenda M. Sylvia has been exhibiting her paintings with the Mango Tango Art Gallery since 2010. She moved to St. John in 2008 to live and work for five months. Those months happily became years and included a move to her own home on St Thomas in 2009. She loves being out in nature and was inspired by the beauty of the Virgin Islands. From the very beginning, she has worked to find her artistic voice to express her connection to her new home.

Her background includes a Masters of Fine Arts from George Washington University and many years of painting landscapes on location. What fascinated her about painting in the islands was the incredible light and vibrant colors here which quickly found their way into her artwork. She also discovered Carnival and even joined the iconic Gypsies Troupe. Carnival dancers joined the wildlife and natural beauty of the islands as the subjects of her paintings.

Along with painting, Brenda filled her days working as a first mate on sail and power boats, leading kayak tours, and fire dancing at local resorts. All of these things strengthened her connection to our beautiful islands. Her yearly shows at Mango Tango continued until 2017 when Hurricane Irma changed everything. Her home was damaged and she moved back to Virginia where she continued to paint and teach art workshops. Her heart was still in the islands and in March of 2019 she returned to Mango Tango with a new exhibition. Now in June 2022, Mango Tango will feature a sampler of her paintings and at the end of February in 2023 she’ll be back to have a show with one of her personal favorite artists, Mel McCudden.

Jane Coombes of Mango Tango notes:  “It takes months for an artist to complete paintings for a show. As she began sharing images of works for her 2023 show, I was awestruck. Selfishly, I just couldn’t wait until next year. They complement Devonish’s mahogany sculptures. Brenda’s heart is definitely still here. These 5 works are teasers of her future creations.”

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