Osmond Watson (1934-2005)

Osmond Watson, Freedom Fighter (1973), Collection: National Gallery of Jamaica

This post is our tribute to Jamaican painter and sculptor Osmond Watson, who passed away in 2005,  at age 71. This post is adapted from a paper by O’Neil Lawrence, Curatorial Assistant, and an obituary for Osmond Watson written by Veerle Poupeye, Executive Director.

As an Afro-Caribbean man who resides in the Caribbean and is faced with Caribbean problems, my philosophy on art is simple. My aim is to glorify Black people through my work with the hope that it will uplift the masses of the region, giving dignity and self-respect where it is needed and to make people more aware of their own beauty.

– Osmond Watson, 1995

It is one of the most frequently quoted statements by the artist Osmond Watson; most likely because it is one that resonates as strongly now as it did in 1995. The identity of the Afro-Caribbean man/woman is one that is in a permanent state of flux but few of us even properly understand or acknowledge the unique position that Caribbean people hold within the African Diaspora. Jamaica is populated by a people whose ancestors struggled to maintain their cultural history and who are now willingly letting that history be subsumed by North American influences.

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