Our National Heroes have looked after us as a Bajan nation and we need to do the same for them!
As a National Hero of Barbados, the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow paved the way for generations of Barbadians to receive
many life-enhancing benefits.
To honour him and his contributions, four organisations, namely the Barbados Museum & Historical Society (BMHS), the National Conservation Commission (NCC), the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTII) and the Barbados National Art Gallery (BNAG) and a specialist sculpture conservation consultant from Puerto Rico, have partnered to preserve the ‘Father of Independence’ monument located in Independence Square, Bridgetown.
The National Conservation Commission (NCC) is tasked with the maintenance of all the sites and national monuments.
Monuments such as the Errol Barrow bronze statute are significant in the landscape of our cultural heritage and are symbols of our self-determination as Barbadians, and as such, need to be preserved and conserved for future generations.
Created by artist Ricky George and unveiled on Errol Barrow Day in 2007, this larger-than-life bronze statue stands approximately 9ft tall on a 7ft granite plinth.
Although its location creates an attractive centerpiece for the bustling city, its materials are left vulnerable to the tropical elements of sun, ultraviolet light and sea sprays.
Outdoor sculptures of metal in the tropics and near the sea have to be maintained regularly and professionally to avoid damage from the elements, since they present a unique set of challenges for the preservation of the sculpture.
Head of Conservation & Collection Care at the Barbados Museum & Historical Society, Anne Bancroft, who was on site to manage the preservation process explained that it is vital for outdoor metal to be maintained regularly and professionally, in order to avoid damage from the elements.
“Appropriate conservation treatments always take into account the historical integrity of the object in question. Everything we do is documented and re-treatable in order to preserve the landscape of our cultural heritage,” she said.
This was not the only time that the sculpture has been treated. Director of the Barbados Museum, Alissandra Cummins, advised it was first cleaned in 2011 and half of the team that completed the regular work on it this year were from the original team.
“Consistency and familiarity with the process add to the quality and the newer members of the team allow for succession and transferal of skills that aims to retain the skills and expertise on island.”
This first stage is being completed in time for Errol Barrow Day but will be followed up by an interventive treatment later in the year which will include it being “re-patinated”, refinishing the surface, after which this bronze and the
other monuments are flagged for regular inspection and ongoing preventive treatments.
Prevention is better than cure. In keeping with the mandate of the Barbados Museum & Historical Society, the organisation is proud to be a key stakeholder in the preservation project for the ‘Father of Independence’. (PR)