"Beautiful Burden" by Claudette Dean
By: Susan Moir Mackay, Honors B.A.

Art has many functions beyond aesthetic. One of the functions is to satisfy the need to create: art exists because artists are moved to produce. There is an inner imperative that the artist is compelled to follow and the consequence—the piece of art—is the by-product of that inner mandate.

Claudette Dean’s latest body of work, Beautiful Burden, explores and expresses her personal and yet universal journey into her spiritual beliefs. Springing from her like a visual meditation, the work infers a private mythology. It is imbued with secret meanings and imagery—there is a sense that she is showing us a path that is clearly the result of a profound and unique inner directive.

By: Susan Moir Mackay, Honors B.A.

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you,
But sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art." — Rumi

It is no accident that Claudette Dean’s new body of work is reminiscent of the poetry of Rumi.

Grand Bahamian artist Claudette Dean with one of her pieces from Inner Sanctum.
By: Susan Moir Mackay, Honors B.A.

This collection of paintings and poems depict the delicate relationship between the artist’s inner and outer world: The outer world as exposed by the personal introspective pieces, Inward Journey and Wings — intimate self portraits that reveal a passionate vulnerability, which contrast with her portrayal of an inner world using the universal metaphoric images of the lotus as an archetype of enlightenment and the feminine.

By: Erica M. James, Ph.D. Curator of The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, 2004

"...Claudette Dean paints from the spirit, what she believes in that moment is true. Though Dean first conceived this show as an opportunity to share her artistic journey through a type of visual autobiography, what has become even more important to her is that audiences realize that for her, and artists like her, art can become a medium in and of itself. The process of art making can initiate a spiritual transformation on the part of the artist, and the potential also exists for this spirit to move in the viewer as they engage the work.

Where the Lotus Blooms
By: Susan Moir Mackay, Honors B.A.

"Intrinsic to Dean’s art is her spiritual view of the world. Starting from a personal question of “Why do I paint?”, this collection of art was created, becoming a testament to the ambiguities of life – revealing quiet truths of duality and unity. Painted in her distinctive style, the work is powerful yet tender. There is a vulnerable quality to her work that reflects Dean’s intuitive understanding and sympathetic handling of the human condition. By delving into her own emotions, Dean presents a body of work that immediately resonates. She offers us truths of her experience, in bold, raw, and simplistic images, along with aesthetically pleasing pattern style pieces, for example, The Seeker and Where Lotus Blooms, both of which use bright colors and decorative styling that cleverly belie the deeper message of her work.

Inner Circle by Claudette Dean
By: Julie Hoyle, author of "An Awakened Life, A Journey of Transformation."

Whether we realize it or not, we are born seeking someone or something that can prove to us, we are not imagining it, there really is something greater than the small self we are led to believe ourselves to be. On first viewing Claudette Dean’s art, I could see that she had begun her own inner journey and that she was courageous enough to share what she had uncovered. Over time, as this journey has deepened, Claudette’s work has become more profound. Sometimes she takes the viewer by the hand, leading them gently to discover hidden secrets and wonders. At other times, the intensity and beauty of Claudette’s work is so powerful, it takes the breath away, opening a doorway to what an Enlightened Master meant when he once said:

Claudette Dean