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Ras Ishi Butcher | Barbados

Born in 1960 in Barbados,
Lives and works in St John, Barbados

Ras Ishi executes his creation in mixed media and it is his response to a chaotic and volatile situation in the Caribbean region. He tries to bring balance and order to an anguish soul by performing his works, which are acts of magic and are means by which he escapes the harsh realities of a mundane society.

His daily ritual of making things explores the social, political, religious, cultural and technological facets of today’s uncertain world. He loves to make things and tries to unravel the hidden secrets of the creating process, while refining the mistakes and pitfalls that he encounters along the way.

Ras Ishi Butcher is self-taught.

However, through the years, he pursues his training, in particular at the Barbados Community College (where he has also been teaching since 1997) and at the ISA, Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba (1997).

In 2005, he is artist-in-residency at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ras Ishi painted several murals for Public Buildings in Barbados such as : Barbados Community College, Oistins, Cave Hill, National Cultural Foundation, or Hothersal, Primary School St.John.

Ras Ishi Butcher and Ras Akyem Ramsay form part of a group of artists called the «Rastafari artists», whose work is close to a Basquiat’s aesthetics.

Individual exhibitions by Ras Ishi Butcher

Secret Diaries at the Old Pharmacy Gallery in Speightstown and the Lancaster Gallery in St. Peter, Barbados (2010) ; Diaries Unlocked at the National Art Gallery of Bahamas in Nassau, Bahamas (2005) ; Secret Diaries (2004) and Nostalgia (2001) at the Zemicon Gallery of Bridgetown, Barbados ; Isolation at the Barbados Museum of St. Michael, Barbados (1995) and Personal Views at the Barbados Museum of Bridgetown, Barbados (1986).

Collective exhibitions

Unrehearsed – Ras Akyemi & Ras Ishi at the Galerie André Arsenec of Fort-de-France, Martinique (2011) ; Beyond the Horizon at the Mon Gallery of Curaçao (2011) ; Spirituality Rituals and imaginaries of the Caribbean at the Conseil Régional de Martinique (2011) ; Just men (2011), Art Beyond the Sea (2010), Tribute to Edward “Kamua” Brathwaite (2010), Out of the Box (2008) and Big (2005) at the Queens Park Gallery in Bridgetown, Barbados ; Art Beyond the Sea (2009) and Bicentennial Global Dialogue Visual Art Exhibition (2007) at the Bagnal’s Point Gallery in Bridgetown, Barbados (2009) ; Blanche at the Morningside Gallery of the Barbados Community College (2009) ; 4th Carmichael Prize Exhibition at the Zemicon Gallery in Bridgetown, Barbados (2008) ; Art Marathon at the Lancaster Gallery in St. Peter, Barbados (2008) ; Conversations with Guru (Guru, Ras Akyemi, Ras Ishi ) at the Whispers Gallery in Barbados (2006) ; Tresor im Ba~Ca at the Kunstforum in Viena, Austria and at the ACP House of Bruxelles, Belgium (2006) ; Carifesta in Trinidad & Tobago (2006) ; Three Generations at the Diasporavibe Gallery in Miami, USA (2005) ; Outsiders at the Fordsburg Artist Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa (2005) ; Caribbean Connection 4 – New paintings (with Ras Akyem) at the Islington Arts Factory in London, UK (2004) ; The Odyssey Continues (with Ras Akyem) at the OAS Museum in Washington D.C., USA (2004) ; Lay of the land at the NAGC in Barbados (2003) ; Barbadiana at the Galerie JM Arts in Paris, France (2003, 2004, 2006) and at the Queens Park Gallery in Bridgetown, Barbados (2005) ; Migration and the caribbean diaspora at the University of Central Florida, USA (2001) ; the first show of the Zemicon Gallery in Bridgetown, Barbados (2000) or the historical show Contemporary Art of Barbados at the OAS Museum in Washington D.C., USA (1986).

Biennials, fairs

Ras Ishi Butcher participated into the 6th Liverpool Biennial, UK, in the first Caribbean Pavilion, City States (2010) ; 30th Festival International de Peinture de Cagnes-sur-Mer, France (1998); 1est & 3d Caribbean Biennial in Santo Domingo and into the 3d (1989) and 5th (1993) Havana’s Biennials, Cuba.


His artworks are among the collections of the following institutions : Museo de Arte Moderno of Santo Domingo ; National Art Collection of Barbados, University of the West Indies in Barbados and many private collections in Barbados and the USA (Mervyn Awon, Nancy Yeager, Andy Topin, Dr Galler…)


He received the NIFCA Prize, National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (1985, 1986), the Eric Estorick Award from the Art Collection Foundation (1986), as well as the Gold Medal during the 1st and 3d Caribbean Biennial of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (1992 and 1996).

Artworks by the artist

Ras Ishi Butcher | Can’t Wait

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Ras Ishi Butcher | Blazing

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Ras Ishi Butcher | Diarios Secretos Dos

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