JIS News

Despite record-breaking snowstorm, which hit the mid-Atlantic region on the weekend, Jamaicans in Washington DC, Baltimore and Virginia, as well as members of the art community in these areas, turned out in numbers on Monday (Feb. 8) to bid farewell to one of Jamaica’s foremost artists, Albert Huie, OD, CD.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States (US), Anthony Johnson, who represented the government at the funeral and home-going celebration service held at the Vaughn C. Greene funeral chapel in Baltimore, Maryland, described Mr. Huie as a giant of the Jamaican cultural pantheon, whose works have represented Jamaicans across the globe, and whose name is known wherever serious connoisseurs of cultural expression are found.
“Mr. Huie is a man whose name will not be forgotten as long as mankind appreciates the beautiful, the graceful and fecundity of God’s nature,” he said.
He noted that Jamaica and the Caribbean are fortunate to have nurtured a man of such rare genius, whose works now hang in hundreds of museums and private collections across the globe.
These works, he said, “eloquently express the message of the Jamaican nation –
an impatience with the legacy of poverty and under-development, striving for a better tomorrow, but surrendering nothing of our natural beauty, our tropical rhythm and our Caribbean spontaneity – the essence of our native Jamaican spirit.”
The Ambassador expressed condolence to Mr. Huie’s widow, his children and other members of the family on behalf of Prime Minister Bruce Golding, the Cabinet and the government and people of Jamaica. He assured the family that although Mr. Huie will be missed, his works will forever serve to inspire.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, in her tribute read by Ambassador Johnson, stated that Jamaica and indeed the world, have lost a great artist who not only painted beautiful pieces, but used the strokes of his brush to help transform a nation’s image of itself.
Minister Grange said Albert Huie’s artistic vision was indeed revolutionary and resulted in magnificent images, in paint and in print form, that continue to inspire pride.
“It was Huie who taught us how to look at and represent ourselves with pride and sensitivity. His portraits of Jamaicans of all ages and social backgrounds; his majestic, sun-infused landscapes; and his depictions of the reaping of crops, market vending and washing by the river all celebrated the beauty and poetry of our land and its people,” she said.
She described Mr. Huie as the ‘Father of Jamaican Painting’ who contributed immensely to the development of Jamaican art, along with key figures such as John Dunkley, David Pottinger, Edna Manley, Carl Abrahams and Alvin Marriott.
“We marvel at the fact that some of his most poignant portraits, such as the beautiful young girl in The Counting Lesson (c1938) or the proud market woman in The Vendor (1939), were painted when he was still in his teens. Both works are now among the classics of modern Jamaican painting and are on permanent display at the National Gallery of Jamaica, along with later Albert Huie masterpieces, such as Noon (1943), Crop Time (1955) and Coconut Piece (1966),” Minister Grange said.
His classic, The Counting Lesson, was featured in the Jamaican exhibition at the New York World Fair in 1939 and he was the first Jamaican artist to receive a solo exhibition at the Institute of Jamaica in 1943.
Minister Grange noted that many more generations of Jamaican artists will be inspired by the precocious talent of Albert Huie. “So, while we are saddened at his passing, we cherish his memory. We will forever remember his work and the inspiration it brings,” she said.
In remembering her father, Alecia Huie highlighted his outstanding accomplishments in the field of art and for paving the way for other artists who came after him. As a father, he was a great provider and role model to his children, she noted.
Following the service, Albert Huie was interred at the Arbutus Memorial Park Cemetery in Baltimore.
Born in Falmouth, Trelawny on December 31, 1920, Mr. Huie died on January 31, 2010, exactly one month after he celebrated his 89th birthday. He is survived by his wife Phyllis, daughters Evelyn, Christine and Alicia.