Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London
Supervised by Professor Paul Goodwin, Chair of Contemporary Art and Urbanism, Chelsea; Professor Sonia Boyce, Chair of Black Art and Design, Chelsea; Dr Elena Crippa, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Tate
January 2019 –

Photograph of an aluminium sculpture of a stylised bird on a square pedestal (on which the title Savacou is inscribed), installed in a park with grass, trees and blue sky in the background

Ronald Moody
Savacou 1964
University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica
© The estate of Ronald Moody
Photo © Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski

This studentship is generously funded by the Ronald Moody Trust.

This doctoral research investigates the life, works, mobilities and philosophy of Ronald Moody (1900–1984), placing much needed critical attention on the artworks and personal papers of the Jamaican sculptor and philosopher. Focusing predominantly on his life in Britain (from 1923 onwards), the research will contextualise Moody as a complex, networked figure and will examine the interconnectedness of key artistic relationships. I will explore Moody’s art, legacy, philosophy, unpublished writing and his relationship with nature and spirituality, as well as his role in the Caribbean Art Movement, Commonwealth and Harlem Renaissance.

The aim is to move beyond the dominant, accepted narrative that grounds Moody as forgotten, invisible and marginalised, and instead to recast Moody through a lens that explores his art practice, contributions, impact and value to the landscape of British and diasporic art. Moody’s sculpture was directly influenced by Egyptian archaeological finds displayed at the British Museum in 1928; following a visit, Moody turned from his training in dentistry to a career as a sculptor, becoming one of the most significant modernist sculptors of the twentieth century.

About Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski

Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski holds a Master’s degree in Archives and Record Management (International) from University College London. Her work explores archives in relation to Black histories and experiences in Britain and throughout the diaspora. She is currently the archivist for the Rita Keegan Archive Project and a founding member of the Remembering Olive (Morris) Collective 2.0. Ahaiwe Sowinski is a member of Transmission – a core group of five individuals who share thoughts and ideas on the current heritage landscape. Transmission continues to develop frameworks for interrogating what it means to be a Black archive, advocate and/or archivist in the 21st century with a view to sharing skills and building capacity with the heritage and memory work sector. She is a board member for YO MAMA! Housing Cooperative, founded by Amoke Kubat, a creative and healing focused initiative. She also holds a position on the advisory board for Not/Nowhere, a UK artist workers’ cooperative.