JIS News

Jamaican Artist, Barrington Watson, O.D., was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement award as a master artist and cultural ambassador and for his artistic contribution to the Pan African movement. The award was presented at the second annual two-day Pan African Bookfest and Cultural celebrations held at the African American Research Library & Cultural Centre in Fort Lauderdale at the weekend (April 25-26).
Making the presentation was Ms. Tanya Simons-Oparah, Outreach Services Director of the Broward County Library Division, who described Mr. Watson as “an international figure, master artist and a legend in his own time.”
She said of the works of this internationally acclaimed artist was gracing the Research Library while the facility was in the process of building its reputation with works of other international scholars.
Among Mr. Watson’s works on display is the internationally acclaimed mural ‘The Pan Africanists’. That portfolio, which was made into a book, comprises 44 paintings and took four years to complete. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan wrote the foreword to that book.
Mr. Watson also authored another publication – Shades of Grey – a collection of autobiographical stories illustrated with his own paintings.
Educated in London, he also attended renowned art institutions in Holland, France, Italy and Spain. He has also been the recipient of several international scholarships and awards, as well as the Jamaica-Festival Gold Medal, the Institute of Jamaica’s Centenary Medal, and the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence.
The two-day event attracted some 5,000 persons and featured an array of international and national speakers and authors.
This year’s highlight was ‘The Emancipation Circle’, a commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved or colonized Africans in countries including Ghana, Jamaica, Brazil, Haiti, Bahamas and the USA. Among the many presentations was a historical perspective of the Pan Africanist movement.
Other featured activities included literacy activities for children, spoken word performances, book signings, art exhibitions, community history exhibits and ethnic foods.

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