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|Iconic Guyanese artist, sculptor Philip Moore dies at 90|
|Sunday, 13 May 2012 22:00|
ICONIC Guyanese artist, sculptor Philip Moore - the creator of the 1763 Monument (Cuffy), died early yesterday morning at his 7 Lancaster Village, Corentyne, Berbice home.
The artist who was 90 at the time of his passing, was being cared for by his son Mr. Philip Moore Jnr. Moore told the Guyana Chronicle, that he would normally take his father for regular medical checkups as he was diagnosed eight years ago with a heart condition. On their last clinic visit three weeks ago, Moore said he was told by the doctor: “All I could tell you to do young man is give him his medicine”.
As the junior Moore recalled, his father kept saying “Philip Moore time” and he would pretend not to know what he meant, but his father would never go into detail.
Junior Moore who is a hire car driver was assisted in caring for the artist by his wife and his daughter. He recalled that his daughter went to check on the senior Moore around midnight and reported that she didn’t like how her grandfather was breathing. He reassured her that it was normal with his heart problems. However, upon rising at 5:30 to open the windows in his father’s room, he discovered him motionless. Moore also leaves to mourn daughter Corine Munroe.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony said the ministry was saddened by Moore’s passing. The minister, who described the artist as an iconic and cultural figure in Guyana, said that the ministry would be sending a team to Berbice to meet with his family members today (2012/05/14). Anthony said that the ministry would also be issuing a full statement today.
Curator of Castellani House (The National Art Gallery) Ms. Elfrieda Bissember expressed feelings of loss and sadness. She said that though she had learnt of the decline of the artist in recent weeks, the news came as a shock.
Bissember lauded the work of the late artist noting that Philip Moore produced a body of work that was admired in his lifetime and that would be even more greatly admired after his passing.
Continuing, Bissember stated that Moore’s work was “the core of the national collection”, a statement that she repeated. She expressed the hope that the legacy left by the artist would be a source of comfort.
Born in 1921, in British Guiana, Moore had little formal education but received a school-leaving certificate in 1938. At an early age he accompanied his father, a rubber-gatherer, on his expeditions into the forests.
To Moore, the forest was an enchanted place, said to be filled with spirituality. The artist believed that he was an ancient spirit reincarnated in a modern body.
Around 1940, Moore converted to Jordanite Christianity, a religion which focused on self-help, personal pride, communal life, hard work, and study of the Bible. As an artist, Moore considered himself “spirit taught” following a dream in 1955, in which a large hand reached down to him from the heavens, and a voice commanded him to begin his career as an artist.
In this time he made a modest start, refining his skills by carving wooden canes and before long developed proficiency in manipulating tropical hardwoods such as Purple Heart and cocobolo. His early subjects included portraits, animal figures, sports heroes and stylised magic drums. Eventually, he turned to other forms of art, such as painting and poetry. By 1964, his intuitive carving abilities came to the attention of local authorities at the Department of Culture, who hired him to teach craft and arts.
Motivated by love for his native Guyana and assisted by the government, Moore got the chance to create the 1763 Monument, the largest bronze sculpture in the Region. The piece depicts slave rebellion leader Cuffy as a defiant African warrior. He wears a pre-Columbian-like helmet and African breastplate, and stands at the ready to march against any enemy who dares to desecrate his homeland. It also features traditional African motifs such as the stylised masks used for leggings and breastplates as well as its non-Western sculptural proportions.
|Last Updated on Monday, 14 May 2012 10:08|
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