Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
Close friends and family of renowned sculptor Fitz Harrack are still trying to accept he will never create another masterpiece.
Harrack, 67, died early yesterday morning at his home in Liguanea, St Andrew. His widow, noted ceramist Norma Harrack, was understandably at a loss for words.
"He wasn't ill or anything. He was sculpting up until yesterday (Wednesday)," she said. Friends came to the couple's home at various times yesterday to pay their respects, trying to comfort the teary-eyed Harrack. All around the yard were signs of the artist's prowess. The wooden relief he was working on now sits unfinished. Steve Thompson, who said he grew up with Harrack, remembered when he met him.
"I was over my yard and he said he needed someone to clean up his yard," Thompson said. That was about 30 years ago and Thompson, who said he's known them from he was 12, credits the Harracks for 'growing him'.
"When dem come wake me up, mi shock," he said. "Him was a talented man. Di only ting lef' fi him do a blow breathe inna di work."
Fellow worker Paul Lewis described Harrack as a quiet, loving man.
"He was friendly and kind to everybody," he said, noting that they were treated like members of the family.
"Mi feel lost and stress out 'cause mi lose a good friend," he said. "Mi all a wonder if him really gone fi true."
Learned a lot from Harrack
A mason by trade, Lewis looked at the newly minted statue of Paul Bogle that Harrack had restored and described how he helped the master sculptor give the national hero a facelift.
"Being around Mr Fitz, a nuff ting mi learn from him," he said.
Harrack's work can be seen across the island, including at the National Gallery and the University of Technology Sculpture Park.
Harrack, a Grenadian by birth, was one of Jamaica's most famous sculptors. Like many fine artists, he was schooled at the then-Jamaica School of Art between 1969 to 1979 and even served as the school's head of the sculpture department. He also served as art educator at Hillel and Alpha academies.
Harrack was adept with practically any material, including wood, copper and stone.
He also did extensive research in various topics, including Jamaican exotic hardwoods for sculpture, exotic metals, techniques for sculpture, and new copper welding techniques, bronze, brass and nickel.