Jamaican Artist

Carl Abrahams

 

Carl Abrahams (1913-2005) called himself the ‘father of Jamaican art.” He was the first Jamaican born artist to independently document Jamaica’s atmosphere. Abrahams had benign origins; as a student at Calabar College, he made doodles of his teachers. Later, he followed the trend of drawing motor vehicles, like his father. It was his headmaster Rev. Ernest Price who pushed him beyond this by encouraging him to document local developments. He soon became fascinated with spiritual and mythical topics, attempting to depict scenes from Biblical and Greco-Roman classics. This habit did not die with his youth, but continued as a life-long pursuit.

 

Abraham’s work is highly valued for its originality and engaging style. As early as 1938, Ester Chapman said his work displayed “striking originality” at a time when the rest of the Jamaican art world was being described as anaemic. Abrahams was 93 when he died.

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