The UNIVERSITY of the WEST INDIES and JAMPRO
Was written and
presented, in honor of Jamaica’s 1st. Fiftieth
Anniversary and also in honor of Dr. Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al-Mansour
Attorney at Law, Author & Special Advisor to: HRH Prince Alwaleed
Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, to the Vice
Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and Ambassador
Douglas Owen Ali of Global Oneness of Atlanta Ga. The occasion was
also used to launch Eccleston’s book of poems “Red Field of Dreams”.
The book can now be purchase on
The “book of Poems” is one of those reading material that captures and hold your attention while reading. It is not just a “Book of Poems” but an experience a lot of us are a part of it because we are in it. The writing style is unique and inspiring. Your creative work is proof of your wide array of talents. I will recommend. Paul Bancroft, of Jamaica and, Ont. Ca.,
On September 5, 2003 W. Henry
Eccleston was featured in the
Frame-shop owner stays true to his island roots
‘The government should be doing
what I’m doing,” W. Henry Eccleston tells the visitors in his I Art
I Gallery and framing shop in Carnasie, Brooklyn.
“What I’m doing is about
building a society. What is a little piece of crayon and paper when
you talking about building a child?”
To explain: Eccleston, and artist and graphic designer, bought the tiny framing shop on Glenwood Road seven years ago. He had only been there for three days when he noticed that children from Glenwood houses across the street would roam the streets in groups, looking for something to do.
Most times that meant ringing the doorbells of the stores in his shopping strips running away.
When the children rand Eccleston’s bell, he invited them in.
He explained to them how he made his living. More importantly, after distributing crayons and paper all around, Eccleston told the children that if they drew pictures for him, he would frame the best ones and hand them on the shop walls.
“They did a few, and I told them they were not good enough,” Eccleston said. “But they kept coming back and working at it.”
Jeanette Ross and Clara Pope 9, each have expertly framed—and very sophisticated—abstract art hung in Eccleston’s shop, joining works by celebrated artists like Otto Niels, Kofi Kayiga and Hilton Plummer, and, of course, Eccleston himself.
Sixteen children now come here, and I teach them artistic drawing,” Eccleston said. “They can’t all fit here at one time, so they come in groups of four.”
The 20 to 30 minutes the children spend in the shop each day is that much less time parents such as Victoria Ross, Jeanette’s mother, have to worry about what else they are getting into.
A home-care attendant, Victoria Ross said she works 12 hours a day, six days a week, leaving her one day to get all her personal business done.
“When I call home and they tell me that Jeanette is in the framing store, I know she’s all right,” Victoria said.
IN THE FRAME W. Henry Eccleston sits in his I Art I Gallery on Glenwood Road, Carnasie, where works by artists such as Otto Niels, Kofi Kayiga and Eccleston himself are on display.
Eccleston said— with some financial help from the Flatlands Civic Association— is just doing a small part to make the world a better place.
“If we don’t do anything for your children, how do we expect them to contribute to the world tomorrow?” he said. “The children coming up today are not being psychologically prepared to run the country. And that means our country is in trouble.”
He’s planning to stage a children’s art show this year.
Eccleston’s passions run deep, as deep as the roots he put down while growing up in Jamaica’s dirt-poor Trench Town neighborhood in Kingston. Strong feelings, sharp minds and the need for a significant life must have sprung from the Trench Town water— one of Eccleston’s boyhood friends would grow up to become reggae superstar Bob Marley.
“I knew Bob before he started playing the guitar,” Eccleston said. “Bob lived 17 second St., and we lived at 14, across the street. He and Bunny (Neville O’Riley Livingston, a founding member of the group that would become Bob Marley and the Wailers) used to practice in my front yard.”
Marley would go on to write and record songs that would become part of protest lexicon worldwide. Eccleston, under the guidance of the late Father Hugh Sherlock, who ran the Boys Town/YMCA Center in Trench Town, completed local schools and St. George’s College before winning a scholarship to the Jamaica School of Art.
After graduating in 1971, Eccleston worked as a graphic designer and silk screener in Jamaica before immigrating to New York in 1974, where he did postgraduate study at New York University and Pratt Institute.
He worked in advertising for
years, then finally decided to leave and concentrate on his art. He
has won numerous awards, including the Edna Manley Award and the
Association of Caribbean-American Artists Award for Excellence in
His work has been displayed in the Jamaica National Gallery, the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building, and at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Former Mayor David Dinkins has an Eccleston piece in his personal collection.
“I try to do with images and graphics what Bob did with words,” said Eccleston. “The Trench Town experience incorporates all your senses. It’s my duty to tell my story through our particular cultural point of view.”
Eccleston remains active in Trench Town. He designed a series of posters of several of the people and places made famous in Marley’s lyrics, including “Georgie,” and the “single room shack,” where he and Marley ate oatmeal porridge in “No Woman No Cry”; Vincent Ford, writer of the Marley hit “Positive Vibration,” and the Nyabinghi Rastafarian women, who shared Marley’s religious beliefs.
The posters are sold in what is now the Trench Town Culture Yard, which promotes the arts and cultural preservation in that community. Eccleston also sends barrels of food, clothing and even sewing machines and materials to the community.
Eccleston is just as active in Carnasie. He has presented cultural events in his I Art I Gallery shop that have attracted the likes of Brooklyn luminaries Una Clarke, John Sampson and Helene Weinstein and the Jamaican consul general.
“We’ve had people standing in the street, blocking traffic,” Eccleston said. “My friends keep telling me I need to move to a larger space. But no time soon. The crowds tell me that this is something this community needs.”
One alternate Fridays, Eccleston— with producer Terry Wilson, engineer Shawn Rhodes, and Nate (The Dub-ologist) Walker— broadcast the “Midnight Ravers” music show from midnight to 3 a.m. on WBAI 99.5 FM. The show, which is on tonight, is an eclectic blend of music and won a 2003 Golden Reel Award.
“I just hope that the things
that I am doing say something about the person I am,” Eccleston