My Kingston - Basil Barrington Watson
What are your earliest memories of Kingston?
Visiting the Half-Way-Tree park as a child. It was leisure time well spent, and I liked seeing the monumental clock there.
What do you miss when you are not in Kingston?
I miss the fabric of Kingston. The energy of the city and the people on the streets are unique. From an art perspective I've always appreciated the mountainous backdrop which frames the city.
What are your favourite home comforts?
Working in my studio.
What would you do if you were mayor (of Kingston) for a day?
I would transform Kingston into a mecca of art. There would be sculptures, murals, paintings, photography and drawings for the public to see and appreciate.
What is your preferred beverage?
A cold glass of lemonade. However, every now and then I like a glass of red wine.
What was your most memorable meal in Kingston?
Home-cooked ackee and salt fish.
What steered you in the direction of your current career?
I grew up in an environment where I was always surrounded by art. It has always inspired me, and I'm very passionate about art.
What is your favourite creation to date?
I don't have one. Each time I complete a piece of work I immediately start conceiving the next creation and that's where the pleasure is for me.
What are your thoughts on Jamaican art?
Jamaican art needs to be more open to outside and international influences. It is important to note that there is still more to be done for the promotion of Jamaican art.
Do you feel more appreciated for your art overseas?
Yes, to a certain extent. A lot of the negatives I've received in Jamaica I wasn't exposed to abroad. However, much of the support I've received in Jamaica I'm very grateful for.
What are your thoughts on the promotion of art in the last 50 years?
There has not been an exhibition yet this year that has comprehensively reflected the journey of Jamaica over the last 50 years. Efforts have been made with small exhibitions, but we need something more comprehensive at the national level that speaks to all our landmarks and shows the respect and appreciation of our history through art.
What inspires you?
People, places, music and, of course, art.
What upsets you?
Ignorance displayed by people in authority.
Share your favourite spots on the island.
Reach Falls, Negril, Blue Mountains.
Share some places in your black book.
China, Japan, Russia, Germany, Guatemala.
What's your advice to a first-time visitor to Kingston?
Get to know the people; there's a lot to learn and experience in Kingston.
What's your philosophy?
There is no greater moral goal than achieving happiness.