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MARCUS GARVEY SCULPTOR DISAPPOINTED IN ITS REMOVAL FROM UWI CAMPUS!

 

garvey stat

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL—

Sculptor Raymond Watson, whose controversial bust of National Hero Marcus Garvey will be removed from the University of the West Indies’s Mona campus, is disappointed with the institution’s action.

Professor Waibinte Wariboko, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education, said a new piece will be done and hopefully be unveiled before the new academic year in August.

“I’m a bit disappointed but I understand, with all the furor,” Watson told the Jamaica Observer.

Raymond Watson

That “furor” started immediately after the bust — done in bronze resin and stone powder — was unveiled at the UWI in May. It continued on Sunday with a protest near the school by Rastafarians and Garveyites, who demanded its removal.

Critics said Watson’s work is not an accurate depiction of the Pan-African giant who died in 1940 at age 52. Most people identify Garvey as a portly, middle-aged man; the Watson piece portrays a slimmer, younger person.

According to Watson, that was deliberate.

“My approach was, he’s going to be on the UWI campus so I went for a younger Marcus to appeal to a younger generation,” he said.

Watson disclosed that he was first approached to do a Garvey monument late last year by three students from the Faculty of Humanities and Education. Administrators from that department commissioned him shortly after, but said they were only able to afford a bust.

Christopher Gonzalez monument

Christopher Gonzalez monument

He took four months to complete the piece at his St Andrew studio. He recalls his clients having no problems with the initial clay profile or the finished product.

Turmoil over the Garvey bust revives memories of Christopher Gonzalez’s life-size Bob Marley statue which was unveiled in East Kingston in 1983.

The bronze statue drew public outcry with Marley’s widow Rita among the critics. It was eventually replaced by a more conventional piece by Alvin Marriott.

Watson, son of legendary painter Barrington Watson, has been a sculptor for over 35 years. He is aware of the negative impact the Marley statue had on Gonzalez’s legacy, and does not want a similar experience.

“I hope not. Only the future can tell but I hope not,” he said.

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