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Preserving our heritage


by Donna Sealy

Visual artist Fielding Babb says more should be done to preserve Barbados’ architectural heritage.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY while capturing the Barbados Museum and Historical Society building on canvas yesterday, the 78 year-old artist noted he did his part by preserving it in his work.

“I try to document old Barbados, places that are no longer with us. I go around and look at old buildings and if I see that there is no intention of repairing the building then I set up, draw and paint. Fortunate for me, soon after that the buildings are torn down and giveway to modern Barbados.

“So many people know of my movement of going around painting old buildings that a lot of the villagers have a belief that when they see me painting, theirs is next. For a historical feeling, it is good because I know I then might be the only one that has images of the building.

“I personally dislike you taking an old building down that has historical value. I paint it for that purpose, but at times it hurts me to see that a building that has value going down, especially around the City. It doesn’t appear as though the National Trust can do much about that. It’s your property and you’re trying to make improvements but at the same time you’re destroying Barbados, that is my bone of contention with a lot of these buildings.

“One day, hopefully the architects would design some of these buildings [to] keep the original architectural designs and then I might be gone from this earth, but at least I would like to know it’s in place,” he said.

Babb also said that since Bridgetown and its Garrison received the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, the demand for paintings of the buildings around the historic Savannah had increased.

The 20 x 24 oil on canvas he was creating mid-morning yesterday was one of several he had done recently. He said that each one was unique as he always painted them from a different angle. They could last as long as 30 years if stored in the right conditions.

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