Artist biography

British sculptor and writer of Jamaican birth. His first work in wood, Wohin (1934; Sacramento, CA, Adolf Loeb priv. co.), followed by Johanaan (1935; London, Tate), began a period of intense creativity that resulted in his moving to Paris in 1938, where two richly productive years brought growing recognition. Moody was forced to flee the city in 1940, two days before it fell to the Germans, abandoning his sculptures. Moody's experiences in France and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima deeply affected him, and much of his subsequent work concerned the dichotomy between man's potential for self-destruction and for spiritual evolution.

In the late 1950s Moody began experimenting with concrete, stimulated by the new techniques it demanded and the textural effects he was able to achieve. He abandoned concrete a few years later, when he was commissioned to sculpt Savacou (cast aluminium, h. 2.13 m, 1964), the ‘proud, invincible' symbolic bird based on the form of a parrot, which stands on the campus of the University of the West Indies, Kingston. He then began exploring the textural potential of metallic resins in various works, including portraits.

In 1967 he became a member of the Caribbean Artists Movement, actively participating in their many exhibitions and symposia. He served on the Council of the Society of Portraits Sculptors in London and in 1977 was awarded the Musgrave Gold Medal, Jamaica's most prestigious cultural award; the following year he received the Jamaica Institute Centenary Medal for contributions to art.

M. Seton: ‘Prophet of Man's Hope', The Studio (June, 1950)
C. Moody: ‘Ronald Moody: A Man True to his Vision', Third Text (Autumn/Winter, 1989), p. 5
J. Ströter-Bender: Zeitgenössische Kunst der Dritten Welt (Cologne, 1991), p. 41
A. Walmsley: The Caribbean Artists Movement 1966–1972: A Literary and Cultural History (London, 1992)
V. Poupeye: St James Guide to Black Artists (New York, 1997)
Rhapsody in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance (exh. cat. by R. Powell and D. A. Bailey, London, S. Bank Cent., 1997), pp. 15, 26, 163
J. Wilson: ‘Surfing the “Black” Diasporic Web: Postcolonial British Art and the Decolonisation of the US Visual Culture', Transforming the Crown: African, Asian and Caribbean Artists in Britain, 1966–1996 (exh. cat., New York, Caribbean Cult. Cent., 1998), pp. 69–76

27 September 1999

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