Sculpture Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, stainless steel, 2006, www.pinterest.com
London is heaving with beautiful sculptural art, and it’s not all inserted into museums and galleries. Many are on the streets to be admired, touched, mounted on and even vandalized. So is the case in South America and the rest of the Caribbean, for example the vandalized bronze statue of Admiral Lord Nelson at the top of Broad Street in the capital city of Bridgetown, Barbados. This controversial sculpture was erected on the 22nd March 1813 in the area known as Trafalgar Square, opposite Parliament Buildings.
In the Caribbean, some public sculptures were conceptualized after many countries in the region gained independence from colonial rule between the 1960s -1970s. Then came a few contemporary pieces such as British sculpture Jason deCaires Taylor’s figurative pieces, submerged under the Caribbean sea early 2000. He is best known for installing site-specific underwater sculptures which develop into artificial coral reefs. After researching Mr. Taylor’s work i became more interested in contemporary sculpture and lectures on the subject.
On the 1st December 2017 I attended a lecture on Public Sculptures hosted at Sotheby and presented by David Worthington. It was quite an interesting presentation as I viewed slide after slide of works down by British artists and diaspora from Asia, some of the works are located in United States example the work of Chelsea College of Arts alumni Anish Kapoor.
I admired the lecturer’s intellect on European and Western works of art and candid explanation of his likes and dislikes of some pieces. At the end of the presentation a twenty minute break was requested and later we resumed our discussion with Mr. Worthington’s question directed towards me to state the sculptures I liked and disliked. Unruffled by the sudden direct question, I stated the pieces I liked and disliked, and then asked questions in return.
Since the subject of decolonization and curriculum diversity is on this semester’s academic trail , I was curious to know if the lecturer knew of any sculptural work from the Caribbean or South America and if he did, to share his thoughts on it. This question was asked for my educational enlightenment on European’s knowledge and views on Caribbean, Latin American and South American public sculptures. The question was not meant to throw off the discussion but to awaken the inertness within us of our neglect to be inclusive at elevated academic forums. Our classrooms today are diverse and it is in this space we need to access our approach to planning and delivery of the course outline.
The Caribbean art institutes however, has been inclusive for a number of years, our curriculum is loaded with information on Western, Asian, African and European art and history. The students are exposed to other cultures outside the region and are familiar with European and even Mexican art; however on many occasions we do not have students from these nations enrolling into our art institutions. For us to improve and develop we must continue to be prepared for the inevitable, and avoid a curriculum diversity crisis.