Reekel Albert nabs Sagicor General’s Home Is Where the HeART Is prize
Reekel Albert, who started a small digital graphic design business as a “side hustle” at the beginning of the pandemic, has emerged the winner in Sagicor General’s recently concluded “Home is where the Heart Is,” Art Competition. The young St. Lucian, who has always loved art and being creative, won the top prize from the Sagicor General Judging Committee. She also earned the People’s Choice Award based on the public’s input via social media.
In September of 2021, Sagicor General Insurance Inc, launched the Home Is Where the Heart is Competition in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St Lucia. Sagicor General’s President and CEO, Keston Howell, explained why they decided to launch the initiative, “Our team brainstormed this idea while we were about a year into the pandemic. We had all been working from home, or in a hybrid environment, and for much of us, the focus had been about how do we survive and move forward. Given that there were so many unknowns, we wanted to give our creatives the opportunity to artistically express their vision of the future in a post-COVID-19 Caribbean.”
Howell further explained how the competition was organized, “The art competition was centered on three categories: Re-imagine, I am a Change Agent and Grow Together. We accepted submissions in the form of drawings, graphic/illustrations or paintings. The submissions were judged by a small committee comprising Sagicor team members and art enthusiasts, following which the top three submissions were posted on our social media platforms and subjected to a public voting process for the People’s Choice Award. The top piece from that process was adjudged the overall winner. In addition to a cash prize, we agreed to unveil and display the artwork in a space in where the public could visit and view the winning piece. In St Lucia the public will see Reekel’s work while they pass by on the Vigie Highway.”
He added, “Instead of having one overall Caribbean winner, we wanted to highlight a winner in each country, noting that each country’s identity is unique and therefore the artists would have interpretations of the themes that were specific to their experiences.”
In the first phase of the competition, the company received several submissions from artists of all ages and in various types of media. In St Lucia the top three places went to Reekel Albert, Alexandra Grant and Danny Moonie. All three winners saw their artwork posted on Sagicor General’s social media pages.
Remarking on her win, Reekel is earnest and clear on her values and objectives which are well transmitted in her art. She explained that while her creativity and artistic ability has always been important to her, the pandemic allowed it to emerge in a different way. Reekel explained, “Prior to the pandemic I would design flyers and posters for a friend of mine and for my church. But then while we were in lockdown, I had the opportunity to develop it as a side hustle.”
Albert also shared what the artwork meant to her. She said, “Currently we are all focused on COVID and the pandemic, but there are still issues that require our attention if we are to be prepared for the future. From an environmental perspective we have to be more responsible, we have to work together to take care of the environment, to ensure that our climate and land can support our food needs, our flora and fauna. The art demonstrates all of us, working together to pull back from our current scenario and build something better.
Reekel Albert (Right), Winner of the Home is Where the HeART Is art competition with her prize-winning artwork, sharing a moment with Deborah Raoul, Assistant Manager, Eastern Caribbean Operations, Sagicor General Insurance Inc