Here we have a rare piece of amazing Jamaican history. It's an ink drawing of John Canoe dancers by listed Jamaican artist Barrington Watson (1931 - 2016). And it has the coolest handmade ebony frame I've ever seen.
Back to the drawing. It didn't take long to jump on this one. It jumps out at you, just like the dancers. Cuttin' a rug to say the least. I think the drawing was executed in the 60s or 70s. The Jamaican artwork came out of an art estate in the Twin Cities area. The piece is initialed in pencil in the lower right near the feet (see pic). On the reverse someone wrote "Barrington Watson, John Canoe Street Band."
As for the artist, Barrington Watson was a social realist artist who exhibited internationally. In 2000, he received the Musgrave Medal, given by the Institute of Jamaica. Here's the wikipedia page for the artist
Born in 1931 in Lucea, Barrington Watson made his original mark in Jamaica as a football player for Kingston College. However, he ultimately followed his artistic yearnings by enrolling at the Royal College of Art in London. He travelled widely and then returned to the first Director of Studies at the Jamaica School of Art and co-founded the Contemporary Jamaican Artists' Association (1964–74). He later served as visiting professor at Spelman College, Atlanta. In 1967 he won a prize at the first Spanish Biennale at Barcelona. In 2000 he was awarded a Gold Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica.
Watson has exhibited throughout Jamaica and internationally. He is the father of sculptors Basil Watson and Raymond Watson. Watson is the subject of Lennie Little-White's 2015 documentary film They Call Me Barrington. He died on 26 January 2016 at the age of 85.
Here's the Wikipedia page about the John Canoe tradition
John Canoe, or Jankunu (also spelled "Junkanoo" and "Jangkunu") is a festival derived from Akan slaves once common in coastal North Carolina and still practised in the Caribbean in islands that are or were part of the British West Indies, particularly Jamaica and The Bahamas. It is of Akan origin and is dedicated to an Akan warrior called John Kenu from Axim, Ghana. Similar festivals also take place on the coastal region of Ghana, where the advent originally took place, such as the "Fancy Dress Festival" of the Fante people.
The vintage artwork with the frame measures 16 1/2" tall and 19" wide. The exposed artwork measures about 12" tall by 15" wide. The unbelievable frame is solid. Seriously, zoom in on those pics. There is some patina on the frame, with several wear spots. There is a small discoloration spot on the drawing near the rhino? figure. Please see all pics as they are part of the description.
I ship to the continental USA only. Free shipping on the rare Jamaican artwork.
This is stunner from every direction. The pictures don't do the piece justice. What a scene...what a frame. So good.