Zemi is more than an art gallery - it’s a connection to Antigua itself producing creative works absolutely unlike mass-produced souvenirs. The pre-Columbian Zemi is a symbol of an ancient god, which gallery owner Stephen Murphy has adapted into motifs on applied art, graphic t-shirts and found objects. The main object to be transformed into art must be found in its natural state, recycled, or upcycled. Calabashes, driftwood, stone, sheet zinc, aluminium, compact discs, cutlery, shells and sea glass are transformed into incredible artworks.
Stephen beach-combs and salvages abandoned surfboards, which he turns into big, bold pieces of art. Worn by waves, recycled by the sea, sea-glass is a discarded product of both nature and man which Stephen incorporates into his jewellery and decorative sculptural designs.
Mentoring young art students, he teaches them to hand-paint bright primitive designs on calabash bowls, which make wonderful serving bowls. He employs a tinsmith artist who cuts metal shapes to his designs, and turns them into brilliantly painted reef fish and paintings. Reclamation, culture, and environmentalism are the key’s to Zemi Art Gallery.