Arrivants: Phillip Moore

Phillip Moore - Reparation

Reparation (n.d.)
Mixed media
H: 103 cm
National Art Gallery Collection, Barbados

Phillip Moore was born in 1921 in Corentyne, Berbice, in what was then British Guiana. He died in Corentyne  in 2012. He was a self-taught painter, wood sculptor and producer of mixed media objects.

Phillip Moore had only limited formal education and he considered himself “spirit taught’: in a 1955 dream, a large hand reached down to him from the heavens and a voice commanded him to become an artist. He was a Jordanite Christian, a Guyanese religious group with strict lifestyle prescriptions. He found his inspiration in the daily life and environment of Guyana, as well as what he encountered during his travels to the USA, and his subjects included portraits, animal figures, sports heroes, drums, and landmark buildings, all interpreted through a visionary imagination. For his carvings, he used Guyanese hardwoods such as Purple Heart. He is the only self-taught, popular artist in the Caribbean to have received a national monument commission: he was the creator of the large bronze the 1763 Monument in Georgetown, Guyana, which was unveiled in 1976 and commemorates a major slave rebellion. The monument represents the leader of the rebellion, Cuffy, who is represented as an African warrior. He also taught at the Burrowes School of Art and the Princeton University in the USA as a guest professor. Shortly before his death, Moore was honoured in the national awards with the Cacique Crown of Honour, the second-highest award for service to Guyana, limited to 100 living Guyanese.

The work in Arrivants is one of several for which Phillip Moore used a cardboard shipping barrel – one of the staples, and indeed icons, of Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora life.