After repeatedly overhearing tour operators giving erroneous and misleading information about the scenes portrayed in the Ridge Road murals renowned BVI artist Reuben Vanterpool announced that he was forced to move forward with plans to create a book that tells the story behind the art.
Mr. Reuben Vanterpool, the co-author and artiste, explained during the launch of the book titled ‘The Ridge Road Murals’ on 25 May that the book explains the stories and meaning of the work that adorns the wall at Fahie Hill.
He noted that the book was long in coming, but still timely: “While many who grew up in the 1940s and 1950s can easily interpret the murals on the wall, the younger folks and tourists might not be able to do this so a key is needed,” he said.
However, the renowned artiste said that he had extra motivation to co-author the book when he overheard a tour operator giving tourist erroneous information about a scene depicted in the mural.
Mr. Vanterpool said: “Many heard for some time that this book was being prepared, and now it is here…The rationale for this publication is simply that it was necessary in order for us to interpret the murals at Fahie Hill correctly…We have some focused and conscientious taxi drivers here…but make no mistake about it there are some who are not conscientious and it is those few who are not conscientious that gave me the motivation…”
He further explained: “I have been there passing along the wall from time to time while buses are there touring; and while the drivers or operators are explaining. Some of the drivers have been telling tourists interesting things and if I was not embarrassed most of the times I would have to laugh to tell the truth.
“One of the artistes who worked on the murals told me one story: they were in front of this panel of Georges North Side works which showed the old mill round we used…and this taxi man was saying to the visitors ‘this is how we used to race horses in Tortola.’ When you work so hard to represent history as you know it, when you come around this you can’t feel good,” Mr. Vanterpool added.
The book’s co-author Mr. Cedric Turnbull told the gathering that in contributing to the great works he used the skills God endowed him with to bring honor to his Territory.
Mr. Turnbull shared that Mr. Vanterpool was his art teacher and he said that he still considers the artist to be the Michelangelo of the BVI. He said that he is happy to be a part of the project which was part of Mr. Vanterpool’s dream.