Jamaican Artist Connects with Community

Jamaican Artist Connects with Community
By Jasminee Sahoye

His father had told him he might be unable to adequately provide for a family as an artist. But Paul Blackwood was determined to follow his passion and he proved his father wrong.

After 32 years of doing canvas painting in Paul Blackwoodoil and collages, this self-taught artist from Whitehouse, Westmoreland, Jamaica has taken his pieces around the world and attracted some famous people to his work. Among them are former Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio da Silva; Singer and Musician, Roberta Flack; and Actress, Sheryl Lee Ralph.

His pieces were on display at a number of exhibitions at home, around the Caribbean, the United States of America and Europe.

He credits his success to God, adding that he was “born to be an artist” and “dreams do come true.”

Blackwood, who had 45 pieces of his creation on display at the Jamaican Consulate in Toronto for a few days last week, told The Camera that his talent as an artist dates back to his early years in school. He said his teacher had asked the students in the class to express themselves in drawing and his work stood out. Since that day, he earned the respect of his teachers throughout his school years as someone who was creative with the brush.

He had “fence exhibitions” in Whitehouse before moving to Kingston. There he was encouraged by renowned Jamaican artist Courtney Morgan and other members of the Trafalgar Artist Cooperative to pursue his painting.

As a result of his paintings, the father of two girls was introduced to Roberta Flack who was on a visit to Jamaica in 1996. Today, his family has a close connection with her, as she is the godmother of one of his daughters.

Although he has resident status in the US, Blackwood prefers to be in Jamaica where he is inspired by the “natural things” around him.