Grange Hails Icon Cecil Cooper

Story Highlights

  • The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has hailed the artist, singer and art educator, Cecil Cooper, as a “cultural icon who has been an active participant in the development of Jamaican art for more than fifty years.”
  • “He was an outstanding painter, a great teacher and a wonderful singer — that voice was awesome.

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has hailed the artist, singer and art educator, Cecil Cooper, as a “cultural icon who has been an active participant in the development of Jamaican art for more than fifty years.”

Mr Cooper passed away yesterday (Thursday). He was 70.

Minister Grange said:

“Cecil dedicated 50 years of his life – virtually all his life to Jamaican art.  His life was totally immersed in his art, which has been a way of life to him. Cecil’s work reflects a true passion for painting and drawing.

“He was an outstanding painter, a great teacher and a wonderful singer — that voice was awesome.

“He became such an important creative figure, but he always had time to give selflessly to Jamaican art.

“This is quite a loss and we will miss him.  But he’s contributed much and has left us with a great legacy in works of art and in the numerous students that he’s helped along the way.”

Cecil Cooper began teaching at Jamaica School of Art in 1980.  He became head of the Painting Department in 1981 and held that post until his retirement in 2009.  His students have included such outstanding Jamaican artists as Omari Ra, Stanford Watson, Khalfani Ra, Ebony G. Patterson, Phillip Thomas, and Oneika Russell, who are among the acknowledged leaders in contemporary art in Jamaica and, indeed, the Caribbean.

Minister Grange also acknowledged Cooper’s public service on the Board of the National Gallery of Jamaica.

It was only last week (September 6) that he was conferred with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class).

Minister Grange has expressed condolences to Cecil Cooper’s family and friends.

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