Caribbean Culture: Ruben Vanterpool Tortola Mural
Along a stretch of road on Tortola’s ridge of mountains there is a mural painted by local artist Ruben Vanterpool. It’s a favorite stop for tourists, but it also catches our eye each time we drive by. The wall is in sections which capture a aspects of the life in the islands in a bygone era before tourism and, really, before the Virgin Islands were the destination it is now. Sections include walking to school, baking bread, attending church, drawing water from a well, making charcoal and more.
Ruben Vanterpool was born near where this mural was painted. He became a teacher when teachers were both in short supply and the trade was considered a very honorable vocation. In 1997 he entered politics as the speaker of the house, a post he held for 16-years. Now he’s a full time artist. Recently we ran into Mr. Vanterpool as he was doing some touch-up work on his masterpiece. We stopped to say “hi” and admire this cultural icon.