Anthony Wayne Branch was born and raised in rural Barbados in St. Elizabeth Village nestled in the parish of St. Joseph. The early influence of his uncle Keith Blackett, an artist in his own right, fueled Wayne’s passion for fine arts. This was further encouraged by the renowned Barbadian artist Fielding Babb who in those early days spent much time painting in the neighborhood as a plein-air artist.
Wayne, as his grandmother preferred to call him, received his very basic training in Art during his secondary school years at the then West St. Joseph Secondary School. There he acquired his Cambridge Advanced Level Certificate in Art. He subsequently won several national awards including 1st prizes in the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts and he remains the youngest recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Art Collection Foundation.
Wayne’s work was selected by jury to be part of an exhibition representing Barbados in the 1988 “Emerging Artists of the Caribbean and Latin America” which was exhibited in Nagoya, Japan. This exhibition was dubbed “New World Art” and his work received highly favorable reviews.
In the fall of 1990 he enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Four years later he graduated after having received numerous awards including the Lambert & Emma Wallace Calwalder Prize for landscape painting; and the Cecilia Beaux Memorial Prize for portraiture. He then journeyed on scholarship to New Haven, Connecticut to pursue his Masters in Fine Arts at the Yale University School of Art.
Wayne's work was included in “Caribbean Artists Today”, a touring exhibition to the Caribbean, Europe and North America, curated by Mercia Grassi, Professor Emeritus of Drexel University, Pennsylvania, USA. His painting “Little Diamond” was selected as the poster for the event. This body of work which later gave rise to a book published in 2006 and bearing the same title as the exhibition can be seen at its permanent home at the St Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania, USA.
On returning to Barbados in 1996, Wayne embarked on a quest to fuse his informal and formal years’ experiences onto each canvas. Over a decade later his work has evolved with some shifting from pure landscape to figurative subject-matter. In fact, in recent times the works have been more about the indigenous people of a South American country and how they have been influenced by modern trends while maintaining old traditions.
Wayne is currently a tutor at the Barbados Community College where he shares his wealth of knowledge and passion for fine arts. He has held many classes in painting, drawing and plein-air painting and is much sought after to conduct workshops and courses.
He continues to successfully create captivating works of art which highlight the overall effect of natural light and shade while expressing the reflective moods, emotion, life and customs of his subjects.