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Artist Waterous takes 'love' to the streets of The Bahamas

Canadian painter releases video about the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew



Canadian artist Jane Waterous was preparing to film some videos of paintings for her social media, and then she was hit by a hurricane. Literally.

Waterous, a painter of international renown who is represented by Whistler Contemporary Gallery, has lived in the Bahamas for almost 20 years and was at home when Hurricane Matthew passed through the island chain two weeks ago.

"I was planning to launch my social media and get into the 21st century. Much to my children's chagrin, I have been living in the olden times," she laughs.

"We were going to make little vignettes, content for Instagram and YouTube and whatnot. We arrive on Monday, and (Hurricane) Matthew arrived on Wednesday and changed all our plans."

The Bahamian media is calling the Category 4 hurricane the worst to directly hit the country since 1929. Some areas were completely flattened, Waterous says.

"So many were left homeless, without roofs, without supplies, food, power. Many still don't have water. It was devastating," she says.

So she created a different kind of film.

"After the storm, we originally went out to film the devastation, the trees down, the flooding. We went to where the true victims were, the people who don't have the money or means to repair," Waterous says.

"What we really found were these people who were so thankful that it was over, thankful they survived, that much of what they had also survived. They were out on the streets, doing what they normally do.

"The kids were playing. Life has a way of moving forward. And that's what we caught."

The resulting video, called Share the Love, is a snapshot of people cleaning up, pulling together and helping each other. Interspersed are four of Waterous's paintings, spelling out the word "LOVE." It was an attempt to capture a great spirit, she said.

"None of the people in the film I knew. Nothing was rehearsed, they weren't told what to do," she says.

"They didn't have to hold the 'LOVE.' They wanted to. We had nine hours of that. People calling their neighbours over and holding their babies. The video was a snippet of what could have been a half-hour TV show."

The film to date has had over 25,000 views.

"We filmed for two days, cut it for a day and threw it up on social media immediately. People have asked me what I will do with it and I want to use it to get as much exposure as possible for the Bahamians," Waterous says.

"I've had a lot of phone calls from people asking me if the islands are still up and running. The biggest source of income for the island is tourism and so many trips have been cancelled already, even though the hotels are open.

"The world needs to know that the islands are as beautiful as ever. The video wasn't made for that and I'm not targeting it. It's not a commercial, but more of a glimpse of some extraordinary people who can smile in the wake of devastation."

To see Share the Love visit www.facebook/janewaterous.