“One of the best things I have achieved at the UWI…” Professor Brian Meeks was clear about the importance of the University of the West Indies (UWI)’s AD Scott Collection – 25 pieces of Caribbean art which Scott donated to the university 20 years ago on Meeks’ spontaneous request.
He, together with Jean Smith and David Boxer, spent time choosing the particular pieces, many of which are on show in an exhibition on The Legacy of AD Scott at the UWI Museum, until July 18. The collection normally resides in the UWI Mona Library, but for three pieces of sculpture permanently mounted in the Faculty of Social Sciences. The Library willingly facilitated the loan of 15 seminal works to the museum.
The exhibition, which was formally launched Friday June 27, the museum’s second anniversary, focuses on Scott’s legacy as engineer and builder as well as patron of the arts.
He was probably Jamaica’s first major private art collector, post-independence, with hundreds of pieces by major artists whom he befriended and supported in many ways. He was involved in the building of major landmarks in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, including the Palisadoes (now Norman Manley International) Airport, the National Stadium, and the island’s first multi-storey apartment building. He was also, at one time, a manufacturer, with a razor blade manufacturing plant. At the UWI, he is best known as the first Resident Engineer, and as the man who pulled down and re-located a derelict 1799 rum storehouse from Trelawny on Jamaica’s north coast, across the mountains to the Mona campus in Kingston to the south. The building was reconstructed as the university’s ecumenical chapel.
Professor Meeks, and others who spoke spontaneously at the launch, remembered Scott’s larger than life contribution, and underscored the importance of remembering.