Born in 1931 in Lucea, Barrington Watson made his original mark in Jamaica as a football player for Kingston College. However, he ultimately followed his artistic yearnings by enrolling at the Royal College of Art in London. He travelled widely and then returned to Jamaica in the early 1960s. He became the first Director of Studies at the Jamaica School of Art and co-founded the Contemporary Jamaican Artists' Association (1964-74).[He later served as visiting professor at Spelman College, Atlanta. In 1967 he won a prize at the first Spanish Biennale at Barcelona. In 2000 he was awarded a Gold Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica.
Barrington Watson has exhibited throughout Jamaica and internationally and currently lives in Kingston, Jamaica. He is the father of sculptors Basil Watson and Raymond Watson.
Watson is the subject of Lennie Little-White's 2015 documentary film They Call Me Barrington
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Edna Swithenbank Manley
Edna Swithenbank Manley, OM (1 March 1900 – 2 February 1987) was a sculptor and contributor to Jamaican culture. She was the wife of Norman Manley, the founder of the Jamaican People's National Party. She is often considered the "mother of Jamaican art".
Edna Manley was the daughter of English cleric Harvey Swithenbank and his Jamaican wife, Ellie Shearer. Her father died when Edna was nine, leaving his widow to raise their nine children by herself. Edna Manley was highly independent and spirited. She attended several art schools in a two-year period, as she sensed that these schools were incredibly limited in what they offered.
As a young woman, she took private art classes with the artist Maurice Harding. She went on to continue her art studies at the Regent Street Polytechnic as well as the Saint Martin's School of Art in London.
In 1921, she married her cousin, Norman Manley, and moved to Jamaica with him in 1922. They had two children, Michael Manley (a future prime minister) and Douglas Manley, a sociologist and minister in his brother's government.
Her move to Jamaica had a profound impact on her work. She abandoned studying zoology back in London, and her work took on a more "inspired formal elegance", according to Boxer. Manley's materials consisted mostly of native woods—she used yakka, mahogany, Guatemalan redwood, juniper cedar, and primavera. Some work dating from her first year on the island are "Beadseller", and "Listener". In describing "Beadseller", Boxer said, "It was as if in one fell swoop, nearly a hundred years of sculptural development had been bridged: in this, her first work done in Jamaica, Edna seems to have given expression to her ideas about contemporary British sculpture with which she had saturated herself prior to leaving England." Both pieces exhibited Manley's more progressive and cubist style.
Between 1925 and 1929, Manley softened some of her geometric forms, replacing them with more massive, rounded ones. Her son Michael was born during this time. "Market Women", a study of two voluptuous women sitting back to back, and "Demeter", a carving of the mythical Earth Mother, are indicative of Manley's late-1920s influence. The 1930s saw another change in her sculptural style. She tamed her early-1920s cubist lines with rounder influences, and produced a new, definitive style that lasted into the 1940s.
Jamaica was facing many political changes during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Members of the African diaspora were looking to do away with the aging colonial system that remained on the island. They were ready for a new social order, and voiced their displeasure with the colonial system by incurring strikes (along with riots), instigating food shortages, and promoting protest marches. Manley's work of the time reflected this civil unrest. Works like "Prophet", "Diggers", "Pocomania", and "Negro Aroused" "caught the inner spirit of our people and flung their rapidly rising resentment of the stagnant colonial order into vivid, appropriate sculptural forms," wrote poet M. G. Smith.
Her works were exhibited very frequently in England between 1927 and 1980. Her first solo exhibition in Jamaica was in 1937. The show marked a turning point in Jamaica's undeveloped art movement, and it prompted the first island-wide group show of Jamaican artists. Manley was also one of the founders of the new Jamaica School of Art. After premiering in Jamaica, her show opened in England, where it was received with much fanfare. It was the last time Manley's work would be shown in London for nearly 40 years.
Active for much of her life as an artist, she also taught at the Jamaica School of Art, now a component of the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts.
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Ras Daniel Heartman
Ras Daniel Heartman, who played Ivan's (Jimmy Cliff) sidekick Pedro in Perry Henzell's cult classic, was a trailblazer. His role was not a major one but The Harder They Come showed that the Rastaman had come a long way since Jamaica gained independence 10 years earlier.
The Whitfield Town-born Heartman (given name Lloyd George Roberts) was a devout follower of the faith. His respected work as an intuitive artist was sometimes overshadowed by his part in The Harder They Come, but he had a strong bearing on those close to him in the 1970s.
Maxine Stowe, who would become a leading music industry figure, was one of Heartman's associates.
"He was a very intense artiste, very much a loner. It was all about his drawings, going out and selling his prints," Stowe recalled.
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González was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1943.He had a Puerto Rican father and Jamaican mother. González graduated in 1963 from the Jamaica School of Art (The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts), where he majored in sculpture. He later became a faculty member at the school. González earned his Master's degree in Fine Arts from the California College of Arts and Crafts. He taught at schools and institutions in Jamaica and the USA (California and Atlanta, Georgia) during his career.
González might be best known for a Jamaican-government commissioned 9-foot-tall (2.7 m) statue created in honor of Bob Marley, which is currently on display at a museum in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The somewhat abstract statue depicts a figure with a tree trunk for a lower body and a distorted face. When the sculpture was unveiled on the second anniversary of the icnic reggae artist's death, angry Marley fans threw fruit and rocks at the bronze piece because, according to them, it didn't adequately represent the widely revered artist.
González was also well known for creating two bronze reliefs that commemorate Jamaican independence from Great Britain, and for a statue of National Hero George William Gordon. He also worked on the tomb of the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Norman Washington Manley. Within Jamaica, examples of González's work are displayed at the Jamaica National Heroes' Memorial, the National Gallery of Jamaica, the residence of the Prime Minister and the Bank of Jamaica. He also held both group and solo art shows in Jamaica, the United States, Denmark, Cuba, Canada and Mexico.
Christopher González died of cancer on 2 August 2008, in Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, Jamaica, at the age of 65. He was survived by his wife, Champayne Clarke-Gonzalez, and six children Chinyere, Odiaka, Asha, Christina, Abenah, and Nailah Gonzalez.