Carving out a future of the Caribbean in Barbados

Rudder, Hazel and Rose

Barbadian sculptor Arthur Edwards is raising eyebrows across the Caribbean after unveiling the waxed image of  calypsonian David Rudder.  

Speaking from his Bridgetown home, Edwards told the Caribbean Camera that he has been doing this work along with his associate Frances Ross for about 25 years. They create most of their sculptured from pictures, trying their best create images that are as close to the likeness of the subject.

“At the world renown Madame Tussaud Museum in London, England they work in teams of five, while over here we are just two people working from pictures they work. At Madame Tussaud the subject of their sculpture is invited to the studio, where they are measure in exacting detail. Measurements are taken of each and every part of the subjects body: the distance between the eyes, the length and width of the nose; everything is done in minute detail because they are committed to recreate an exact and lifelike a likeness of their subject.”

When asked if he has been getting favorable reports? He said “well you know what is important to us is that the individuals we depict is very happy with our work we make them smile…I am not going to chastise anyone who was fooled by photograph and decided that  that’s what was right and there’s not much that I can do about that. What is important to us is that those who are depicted in our pieces are pleased, and that makes us happy” 

We asked how does he choose his subjects and who else has he sculpted so far? “We focus on one Island at a time and we are now focusing on Trinidad and Tobago. We had a visit by David Rudder two years ago and I promised to do him. But I could not do David without first doing Sparrow. I have long wanted to do pianist Hazel Scott, and because of the shortage of women we decided to bring in Calypso Rose who is now in her eighties. We added Rose because of her Great accomplishments. Also we like to do these when the subjects are alive.

The pictures of Sparrow did not come out well at all and that led to some backlash but there was nothing technically wrong with the piece. But the pictures had horrible lighting. People criticized the Sparrow piece but so be it” he said 

The Caribbean Wax Museum, which is the only wax museum in the English speaking Caribbean, is located in the Norman Center in Bridgetown Barbados. Currently they are running out of space with over 70 depictions, 50 of which are full figures while the rest are busts.

Edwards said that a full figure can take three to four months to complete and welcome the input of our subjects. David Rudder , for instance, chose the way he wanted  to be depicted. He wanted to look serious taking a particular stance.  wanted.

The museum is overflowing with Caribbean stars such as Usain Bolt, Fraser-Pryce, Marcus Garvey, and Penny Commissiong. Brian Lara and Gary Sobers share a spot and with other cricketers like Malcolm Marshall. We intend to go to St Vincent, St Kitts next year and then Guyana; we have a number of countries yet to do.

Speaking of the process, Edwards said that the face and hands are sculpted in wax from which a mold is made. Then the final product is cast in silicone rubber while the bodies are made in raisin.  

The statues of David Rudder, Hazel Scott and Calypso Rose was unveiled on 20th of May. 

What do you think about the figures do you Love them or Hate them?