In Jamaica, February is Reggae Month. It’s also a month when many countries follow the US lead and focus on Black History. And for the University of the West Indies, it’s a time to remember the founding. The first Chancellor of the then University College of the West Indies (UCWI) was installed on February 16, 1950, eighteen months after the start of classes and three plus years after the appointment of the first Principal.
What better time to receive a gift of two original pieces of digital poster art, showing the images of UWI’s two West Indian founding fathers – Sir Philip Sherlock of Jamaica and Sir Hugh Springer of Barbados. The two were members of the British government’s Irvine Committee, which spent three months in the colonial West Indies/Caribbean in 1944, gathering information. The committee recommended establishment of the university. Both men went on to be the new university’s Deputy Principal and Registrar respectively.
Their images are captured in the idiom of pop culture by poster artist Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson, whose prime focus is development of a Reggae Hall of Fame in his native Jamaica. He, collaborating with creative partner Maria Papaefstathiou of Greece, also gave the UWI Museum a title poster for a recent exhibition titled: A Great Day For All. Celebration, Ceremony & Academic Dress.
The mini-exhibition of posters – the two new ones and the earlier one also, is on display at the UWI Museum til the end of February.