Trinidad and Tobago-born artist Jeannette Ehlers is among four artists whose designs have been shortlisted for the new UK Windrush monument.
Artists Basil Watson, Ehlers, Thomas J Price and Valda Jackson have unveiled their designs for the national Windrush Monument at London Waterloo station.
The artists, all of Caribbean descent, were shortlisted earlier this year to design a permanent tribute to the Windrush generation to honour how they have enriched the UK's history, a media release said.
The monument will recognise how the Windrush generation has enriched the UK’s history and will be a permanent tribute to a generation of arrivals from the Caribbean to the UK – from the arrival of MV Empire Windrush in 1948 and in the decades that followed.
It is expected to be unveiled on Windrush Day June 22, 2022.
Each of the artists has created a video unveiling their design for the monument, which will be located on the station’s upper concourse. The video also explains more about their artistic practice.
Ehlers’ video can be viewed on YouTube. The designs from the three other artists can also be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-monument-share-your-views#videos
The public is being invited to have its say on the artists’ proposals through an online survey. The UK government is particularly encouraging those of Caribbean descent to take part and share their views on the designs, the release said.
The final artist design will be chosen in September by the Windrush Commemoration Committee, considering views from the general public, and will be announced in October during Black History Month.
The chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee, Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE said the committee wants to hear from young people in particular.
She said, “It is so exciting to finally see the designs our talented shortlisted artists have put forward for the national Windrush Monument in London Waterloo station.
“The monument will educate and inspire the next generation through the Windrush story. For that reason, it is incredibly important to myself and the Windrush Commemoration Committee, to hear from young people on what they think of the four designs.
“The monument will be a place that people can visit from far and wide with their children and families to learn and reflect on the lasting legacy of our Windrush generation.”
Communities Minister Lord Greenhalgh said, “Millions of people visit Waterloo station every year and this monument will always be a reminder to them of the incredible impact the Windrush generation has had – and continue to have – on the UK and our history.
“I encourage everyone to take part in the survey and share their views ahead of the final design being revealed later this year.”
About the artists
Jeannette Ehlers: Ehlers uses a mixture of photography, video, installation, sculpture and performance in her work. Her work addresses complex questions about memory, race and colonialism, influenced by her Danish-Trinidadian heritage. In 2018 Ehlers was the co-creator of a significant public memorial in Copenhagen to Mary Thomas (a 19th century slavery freedom fighter), in collaboration with the Crucian artist La Vaughn Belle.
Basil Watson: Sculptor and painter Watson has designed public sculptures and monuments across the world including statues of Martin Luther King, Usain Bolt and Merlene Ottey. He was awarded the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) in 2016 by the Jamaican government in recognition of his artistic accomplishments. His family is part of the Windrush Generation.
Thomas J Price: Price was recently commissioned by Hackney Council to create a permanent sculpture honouring Hackney’s Windrush Generation. Price has significant experience of creating public artwork. The British-Jamaican artist works across sculpture, film and photography focusing on representation and perception in society.
Valda Jackson: Daughter of Windrush generation pioneers, Jackson works in sculpture, painting, printmaking and moving image creating complex narratives that reflect and question the past and present with intent on influencing the future. In 2017, her collaborative public art practice Jackson and Harris won the Marsh Award for excellence in Public Sculpture from the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association.
The Windrush Generation has come to be defined as those people who emigrated from the Caribbean to Britain between the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush on June 22, 1948 and the Immigration Act 1971. The monument will be a tribute to them, their descendants, and the wider British Caribbean community.
London Waterloo Station is strongly associated with the stories of many members of the Windrush Generation. It stands at a point where thousands of Windrush pioneers first arrived in London before starting new lives across the UK.
The monument will be an ambitious public artwork that stands as a testament to the contribution of Caribbean pioneers in communities across the UK. It will create a permanent place of reflection and inspiration and be a visible statement of a shared history and heritage.