Team Wadadli receive commemorative painting and hint at participating in the 2017 Rowing Challenge
Last Thursday, a painting commissioned by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams and his wife, Lady Sandra Williams, was unveiled at Government House by young artist Rachel Bento. The painting, which commemorates the record-breaking journey of the Team Wadadli – Atlantic Rowers, is to 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.
As the first and only Antiguans and Barbudans to attempt and complete the momentous Atlantic Rowing Challenge, The Wadadli Rowers arrived at Nelson’s Dockyard on February 10th as the oldest team of four to row any ocean. Dr. Nicholas Fuller, Peter Smith, Archie Bailey and John D. Hall (JD), departed San Sebastian in La Gomera on Sunday 20th December 2015 and journeyed across the ocean on what has been categorized as the ‘World’s Toughest Ocean Rowing Race’. The TALISKER Whisky Atlantic Challenge takes you 2,600 nautical miles from east to west across the Atlantic Ocean in a grueling test of strength and mental determination. Far more people have successfully reached the top of Mount Mount Everest than have completed the Atlantic Rowing Challenge.
Artist Rachel 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 online. She says, “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.” Rachel 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
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.
“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.
Just a day after the reveal of the painting, Team Wadadli released a statement on their blog ‘Row 4 Antigua‘ indicating that they would be working on putting together a team for the 2017 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. “Over the past few weeks we have been exploring the possibility of organizing a team for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge starting in December 2017. The #twac2017 is a year and a half away and there’s a monumental amount of preparation needed before a team would be able to be assembled ready at the start line in La Gomera.” The blog post stated.
The team indicated that the public can expect more info in the coming weeks with an official release as to how interested persons can get involved. Until then the team will be deciding on if the 2017 Antiguan contingent will be solo, pairs, a trio or a four man team.
Persons wishing to express interest in helping in any way, can email email@example.com.