Babsy pays tribute to Watson 

Opposition spokeswoman on culture Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange has paid tribute to late Jamaican artiste Barrington Watson.

In a release to the media, Grange said Watson’s passing was a massive blow.

“It is with a sense of profound loss that I learnt of the passing of Barrington Watson, OJ, Jamaican master artist extraordinaire.  The passing of this pre-eminent Jamaican artist has left a large void in the landscape of Jamaican Art.

Barrington Watson was a prolific artist whose contribution to the growth and development of Jamaican Art is legendary.  His was an undying vision of global reach for Jamaica’s artists.  For him, the Jamaican artist could have a place in any international exhibition or gallery.

In this regard, his work was extensive, covering various genres (nudes, landscape, portraits, self-portraits, erotica, etc.).  He was a unique artist and a leader in the Jamaican post-Independence art movement,” she said.

Watson was born in Hanover and studied painting in Europe before returning to Jamaica in 1962 to participate in the then emerging art movement.

“At the time, armed with the insights and visual impacts of such masters as Turner, Rembrandt, Goya, and others, he assumed directorship of the Jamaica School of Arts and Crafts (now Edna Manley College) and spearheaded new curricula and direction that allowed students of art to matriculate into careers in teaching, advertising and television.

Here he was able to combine the techniques and craftsmanship gained in Europe with the splendour and attraction of Jamaican life.  In so doing, he led the charge to make the School of Art the premier art institution of note in the Caribbean, providing a platform for the development of young artists,” Grange said..

Barrington Watson was also instrumental in establishing a movement to bring Jamaican artists together – the Contemporary Jamaican Artist Association, with fellow painters Eugene Hyde and Karl Parboosingh.

In 2011, Jamaica celebrated his 80th birthday with a Retrospective at the National Gallery which gave the artist another opportunity to interact with young artists that left a lasting impression on them.

Among his master works were Mother and Child, Conversation, Washer Women, Athlete’s Nightmare as well as historical portraits of Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante.

“Jamaica has lost another son of the soil whose commitment to his country and craft was exemplary.  He will be missed.  Sincere condolences to his family,” she also stated.