At the age of seventeen, Llewellyn Xavier leaves Saint Lucia for Barbados, where he is first introduced to watercolours while working as an agricultural apprentice. In 1968, Xavier travels to England, and becomes a pioneer in the field of mail art. He moves to the United States in 1979 to attend the school of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston. He later joins a monastery in Montreal to become a Cistercian monk for some time, before leaving the monastery, marrying and returning to Saint Lucia in 1987.
Xavier creates perhaps his most important works in 1993, titled Global Council for Restoration of the Earth’s Environment. The series of large collages, first shown at the Patrick Cramer Gallery in Geneva, incorporate all manner of recycled materials, including naturalist prints from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and postage stamps from many countries. They also include signatures of various world leaders of environmentalism and of a number of conservationists.
Xavier is well known for his oil paintings, characterised by multicoloured drops of paint applied to the canvas using a series of special tools. Looking at his paintings, it is clear that Xavier looks at the Caribbean, his homeland, as a source of inspiration for his use of color and light. His work often reflects his love for the environment. His most recent series, also collages, is titled Environment Fragile, and is meant to call attention to the destruction of the environment.
Llewellyn Xavier is awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, OBE, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2004. His work is held in the Permanent Collections of The Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, The Ulster Museum, Northern Ireland, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto amongst others.
The artist currently works and lives in Saint Lucia.