Artist To Release Book Of Gombey Paintings

October 4, 2016

Artist April Branco has created an impressive series of paintings focused on Bermuda’s iconic Gombeys, saying that she was inspired to create them after meeting the H&H troupe.

The works will be published in an upcoming book, with part proceeds to sponsor the troupe to represent Bermuda at the Crop Over Festival in Barbados.

Ms. Branco told Bernews, “I met the H&H troupe at Masterworks in 2011. They were dancing for a Heritage Day festival there and I got a magnificent shot of one of the dancers in mid air which I painted days later in my studio. The life and action of it was pouring through me.

“I could hear the drums and was tapping my feet while working and that was the first time I had ever experienced so much energy from a painting.”

April Branco Bermuda Gombey paintings art September 2016 (2)

“I paid the young man to model/dance for me later and eventually requested in 2015 to attend their practice sessions and document the inner workings of the troupe and their preparations for the Bermuda Day Parade; training the new young dancers, making the hats and costumes, and more.”

When asked about the book’s availability, Ms. Branco said, “We are currently still looking for sponsors for the production costs, but my intention is to have it landed and available for purchase June 2017.

“It will be available through my website and I will also make it available in stores. Part of the proceeds from every painting, print and book sale go to sponsor the troupe.”

April Branco Bermuda Gombey paintings art September 2016 (4)

When asked why she focused her work on the H&H troupe, Ms. Branco said, “I like that H&H is a young troupe. Here are a dozen or so men under the age of 30 offering positive experiences and community for young boys. They are carrying the heritage and history of our country and they deserve recognition for that.

“It’s is a family troupe; fathers and sons, nephews and cousins all come together under the Captains who are loving, supportive men with great energy. We need to hear and see this type of publicity on our black men. Often we get stuck in the trap of discussing the problem and discussing our black men as if they are a problem, instead of the solution.

“These men are loyal, communal, creative souls that deserve to be praised and I am making it my aim to discuss this visually. I would like the book to be a testament wherever it goes that black men are beautiful, they are talented and they are worthy of praise and celebration.”

April Branco Bermuda Gombey paintings art September 2016 (3)

When asked how long it takes her to complete a painting, Ms. Branco explained, “I measure the paintings in hours. Some days I may do ten minutes, some days sun up to sundown.

“Often I meet roadblocks in the painting and it has to rest until I can see my way through.

“That may also take days or weeks. Pastel is a forgiving and immediate medium [perfect for my personality!] meaning I do not have to use brushes, wait for it to dry or paint in layers.

“It’s a beautiful mixture of sketching and painting which I feel is ideal for a subject as active as our Gombeys.”

April Branco Bermuda Gombey paintings art September 2016  (1)

When asked how long she has been an artist, Ms. Branco told Bernews, “My whole life. My father is a sign painter and architect and began at a time when everything was done by hand. So we always had paints and materials in the house and I was encouraged to create.

“I had a flair for it and combined with parental support by the time I was eighteen I was selling my sketches. In my twenties I took some classes at Bermuda College and studied with Sharon Wilson.

“I’ve been a professional artist since 2010 and the income from my art has supported not only living expenses but extensive world travel. There’s no steady paycheck but I have complete and utter freedom and my work is inspiring and meaningful. That means everything to me.”

For more information on April Branco and her works, visit her website.

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Comments (10)

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  1. SpinCycle says:

    Great skills and a very artistic eye! Love your work.

  2. RoseBud says:

    I am very proud of you Sista!!!!!

  3. Bermie says:

    Love your work, your spirit and your eloquence, April! Everything about you is beautiful. :)

  4. Billy Bye' says:

    Real nice’ I will look for the Prints ‘

  5. Linda Franks says:


    Your work is fantastic! Why don’t you consider having people pre-order your book. Put me down for 5 copies. I would love to have a copy of my own and give some away to my overseas relatives as Christmas gifts!


  6. Athena says:

    A very talented pastel artist. I have admired her work ever since I first saw a charcoal portrait she had on display in a window on Reid Street. I look forward seeing her book.

  7. Thinker says:

    Wishing you great succes!

  8. alex says:

    Love her work! Have one oh her paintings in my living room absolutely love it..

  9. Still Crazy After All These Years says:

    Freaking magificent work!!!

  10. Kathy says:

    VERY talented artist!


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