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Master Painter Barrington Watson Remembered

Published:Thursday | January 28, 2016 | 1:00 AMShereita Grizzle

Renowned Jamaican artist Barrington Watson has died.

Since word of his passing surfaced, many Jamaicans have been reacting to the news, lauding him as one of the main persons who lifted Jamaican art to global standards.

In a statement released to the media, Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna expressed sadness at Watson's passing as she remembered the artist for his contributions to the development of Jamaica's cultural landscape. Hanna also recognised George Carter, a Jamaican theatre personality who died in a snowstorm in North Carolina last Saturday.

"I am indeed saddened by the passing of these two cultural icons," the statement read. "Both Barrington and George not only dedicated their lives to expressing their own unique creativity while building a legacy of their own, but also dedicated their lives to enhancing and promoting Jamaica's rich and diverse cultural heritage." She went on to express that the Ministry of Youth and Culture is committed to ensuring that the works of both men are known by generations to come.

Cinematographer Lennie Little-White also expressed sadness at the passing of Watson. In February last year, White released a documentary called, They Call Me Barrington, which highlights the life and work of the now deceased. White told The Gleaner that he has always admired Watson and lauds him as the man who made people respect art in Jamaica.

 

OUTSTANDING JAMAICAN

 

"I put him in a category with people like Louise Bennett, Rex Nettleford and George Headley - outstanding Jamaicans who have contributed significantly to the country's development," he said. "Watson is the father of the art movement in Jamaica, the one who made people realise that artists were more than just painters, the one who made people respect art. He inspired a lot of the artists in today's generation through his work, and he will be greatly missed."

Watson's widow, Doreen, told The Gleaner that the things she will miss about her husband are his sense of humour and his passion for passing on his knowledge to the youth.

"I know his students will miss him, as they always looked forward to classes with him," she said. "They admired him and the wealth of knowledge he had. I will miss his company and the times we shared with friends and family."

Watson died at his home in Kingston on Tuesday night after being ill for some time. He was 85 years old. Watson, from the 1950s to present, created 259 pieces through paintings and works on paper. His most well-known works include masterpieces such as: Mother and Child (1958-59), Washer Women (1966, on cover), Athlete's Nightmare (1966), and Conversation (1981) and other major works from private and corporate collections.

Barrington Watson was awarded a Gold Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in 2000.