Commemorative Painting of Atlantic Rowers’ Heroic Journey to be Auctioned at Wings of Charity Gala

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(St. John’s Antigua, May 26, 2016) The four Antigua and Barbudan rowers who returned home to a heroes’ welcome after setting the Guinness World Record as the oldest team to row across the Atlantic, has inspired an Antiguan artist, Rachel Bento, to create a commemorative painting that captures this important moment in the country’s history.


The painting, which was commissioned by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams and his wife, Lady Sandra Williams, was unveiled today at Government House by artist Rachel Bento. The commemorative painting will be auctioned by the Halo Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization that helps the needy and less fortunate in Antigua and Barbuda. Funds raised from the auction will go to the St. John Hospice, one of 25 charitable entities under the patronage of the Halo Foundation.


Bento who resides in Canada, did not witness the historic welcome event first-hand, but recreated the scene for the painting by relying on photos and video clips that were posted on-line.


“When Team Wadadli arrived in English Harbour, my phone was filled with posts, pictures and videos of the event.  I was homesick for a few days after that, having missed an amazing, emotionally charged moment in our national history. I jumped at the opportunity to paint a picture of the team, to commemorate them in a personal way. Their accomplishment made me proud as an Antiguan, to be associated with people who are willing to participate in such a difficult task, both physically and emotionally,” said Rachel Bento.


The 24–by–30 inch acrylic painting on canvas, features the intrepid quartet’s heroic welcome after completing the grueling 3000 nautical mile journey, from the Canary Islands to Antigua and Barbuda. Team Wadadli which comprised Nick Fuller 67, Peter Smith 74, Archie Bailey 50 and John Hall 29, claimed 14th place out of 26 boats that took part in the Annual Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Throughout their heroic journey the rowers helped to raise awareness and funds for St. John Hospice, a non-profit palliative care home.


The contemporary Team Wadadli painting by Rachel Bento and framed by Island Photo, will be auctioned as part of the Halo Hallmark Collection at the Halo Foundation’s upcoming Wings of Charity Gala and Auction, on June 30, in New York City. The painting will be featured along with 1981 Limited edition Cavalier Rum, as well as signed memorabilia by celebrities and world champions, that celebrate Antigua and Barbuda’s heritage.


“This painting by Rachel Bento is a dreamlike vision that connects Antigua and Barbuda’s past and present and depicts how our people, communities and our country can celebrate together and grow harmoniously. What better way to artistically articulate our rich sailing traditions that date back several hundred years? This world record helps to differentiate us as a destination and will be documented as part of our national history,” said Lady Sandra Williams.


Rachel Bento obtained a BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCAD University and in her personal work, she explores dreams, the subconscious and individual visual perception through portraiture and figuration. Bento works as a commission artist and her most notable portrait was presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2014, by Antigua and Barbuda’s Governor General Sir Rodney Williams.