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About Vivia and Artist Statement

Vivia Barron is a mother, an immigrant, an advocate, and a painter. Raised in Jamaica, Barron immigrated to Florida in and now lives and works in St. Petersburg, FL.

Growing up in Jamaica, Vivia was always creative more than academic. Her initial creative outlet was food–she was a personal chef who was known for her extravagant, artistic plating.  As a chef, she opened two restaurants. While she remains passionate about food, the birth of her  daughter caused her to reconsider what she was doing. Vivia  found herself drawn to antique photographs that showcased Black and brown people enjoying life. She was fascinated by these everyday stories that were often overshadowed by the more traumatic, brutal representations of Black life in the 19th and 20th centuries. She now has a huge personal collection of these items (both digital and physical). 


The images created by Kara Walker with cut paper were an early inspiration. She found herself looking at the photographs in the collection and the stories they were telling and  thinking about how she could tell a deeper, bigger story about the joy and beauty of Black life. She wanted to bring these images to the public and to return us to the spaces and stories from which we are so often erased. She began with her beach series, returning Black and brown families to the Florida seaside.

Her work has been in multiple sole and group exhibitions. Her work is part of private and corporate collections throughout the US including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Tampa.

Artist Statement: 

I am an artist because of my experiences as a Black woman immigrant. I am an artist because I believe people want to see themselves in the places they frequent or they want the places they frequent to share their same values of inclusion. I am an artist because I believe art manifests, reflects, and creates Black Joy, the exuberant and pride-filled experience of being Black. I am an artist because I want to show people the beauty of a diverse reality and encourage them to imagine and then to build that reality. I am an artist because I am creating this joy-filled, diverse, bright, and colorful world for my daughter, and her friends, and our community. 


My pieces are a rewriting of the narrative to include Black people in the story in a way that doesn’t treat them as “othered” or “different,” but as an inextricable, necessary part of the experience of being alive, of being a member of a community. My paintings therefore are joyful and joy-filled-- a colorful, ecstatic representation of what it means to be human.


My latest series was inspired by my own experience with racism at a prominent tourist spot in 2021. I was told that Black people do not enjoy the beach for socioeconomic reasons and that segregation in the south was a myth. Further, I was told that Black people certainly do not make art about it. In response, I developed the Forward Together series.

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