“Renowned Jamaican civil engineer, builder, artist and patron of the arts.” That was the description that the Gleaner newspaper gave for Ainsworth David Scott, far better known as A.D. Scott or just ‘Scottie’, when he died ten years ago. The UWI Museum is paying some attention to Scott’s legacy in an exhibition, June 16 – July 18, which highlights 15 paintings by some of the artists who benefited from Scott’s committed support of the arts in post-Independence Jamaica.
The paintings are part of a collection of 25 pieces given by Scott to the University of the West Indies in 1994, two decades ago. By then he was already acknowledged as having a huge and important collection of work by all of the artists who came to prominence – sometimes through his support – in the first decades after Jamaican independence in 1962. He also gave a collection of some 62 pieces to the National Gallery of Jamaica.
One project with which he was closely involved, and which is still outstanding, involved the creation and mounting of a National Monument, hundreds of individuals from all aspects of Jamaican history striving upward where they are surmounted by a nude male and female couple. In a 2003 story on the monument, in the Jamaica Observer, Scott’s daughter Kerida said that the inspiration for piece, sculpted by Jamaican master Alvin Marriott, was a sense that Jamaica lacked “something visual and tangible that would be a symbol of the independence for the island and its people”. She said he wanted it cast in aluminium, made from bauxite which is indigenous to Jamaica, “because he felt that the earth is alive with its people.”
UWI’s relationship with A.D. Scott started in 1948, when he was employed as Resident Engineer to oversee the construction of the university’s permanent buildings – to take the place of World War 2 wooden barracks that had been the original lecture rooms, labs, offices and accommodation. Most famously, Scott oversaw the dismantling and relocation of a massive 1799 limestone building from Trelawny on Jamaica’s north coast to the Mona campus site on the outskirts of Kingston in the south, where it became the university’s ecumenical chapel.
TAKING OVER FROM GENDER
The A.D.Scott exhibition replaces an exhibition on gender, in acknowledgement of the 20th anniversary of the UWI’s Institute of Gender & Development Studies. Here are some photos of some of our recent visitors to our on-going Origins Exhibition and the short Gender exhibition.