Jamaican Sculptor To Design UK’s National Windrush Monument

Jamaican sculptor Basil Watson will design the National Windrush Monument in the UK. (BasilWatson.com image)
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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, LONDON, England, Fri. Oct. 15, 2021: Renowned Jamaican artist and sculptor, Basil Watson, to design the National Windrush Monument, which will stand at London Waterloo station in Britain. 

The monument, which is backed by £1 million of government funding, will pay tribute to the dreams, ambition, courage and resilience of the Windrush migrants who arrived in Britain after the Second World War. 

The design will stand as a testament to those who stepped ashore to lay a foundation for their families and their future, influencing and contributing to every aspect of our society. 

It will feature three figures – man, woman and child – dressed in their “Sunday best,” climbing a mountain of suitcases hand-in-hand to demonstrate the inseparable bond of the Windrush pioneers and their descendants and the aspirations of their generation.  

“I’m truly honored to be chosen to design this monument from an outstanding field of applicants,” commented Watson.  “I feel privileged that I now have this opportunity to express the aspirations, vision and courage of my parents, who took the long sea voyage to England in 1952 as part of that Windrush generation in search of a brighter future. “I look forward to bringing my design to life, because I know how much this means to the Windrush community.” 

Watson has designed public sculptures and monuments across the world including statues of Martin Luther King, Usain Bolt and Merlene Ottey. This will be his first public artwork in the United Kingdom, where he lived for part of his childhood with his family, who are part of the Windrush generation. 

Watson, who was awarded the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) in 2016 by the Jamaican government in recognition of his artistic accomplishment, will now begin work to convert his maquette into the 12-foot-high bronze monument that will be unveiled to the public on Windrush Day – Wednesday, June 22, 2022. 

“I want to congratulate Basil Watson on being selected to design the National Windrush Monument. The government is very pleased to be sponsoring this commemoration,” said Communities Minister Kemi Badenoch MP.“His design will celebrate and honor the contribution of the Windrush generation, right at the center of our nation’s capital.  The Monument will become a permanent place of reflection and inspiration for all, reminding us of our shared history and heritage.” 

 “I am thrilled to be able to reveal the final design of our National Windrush Monument, which so vividly captures the experiences of the Windrush generation and their descendants across the country,” added Chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee Baroness Floella Benjamin, DBE. “It was empowering to see how Basil’s design deeply and emotionally effected so many – adults and children alike.   This Windrush Monument represents the past, present and future and I hope it will be the catalyst for other monuments commemorating the extraordinary contribution of the Windrush generation to this country.”