John Benjamin (MBE) - RIP
John Benjamin (MBE) Member
of the British Empire (1992) - passed away this morning
at the age of 77 -Sunday, May 30th, 2010.
He was one of Grenada's renowned artists.
He was bestowed the honor
in 1996-1997 by "Who's Who of International Art in
Lausanne, Switzerland. - Publication 1994-1995 Edition.
French version "Les Grands et Nouveauz Noms du Monde
Artistique D'Aujourd'hui" - (The Great and New names in
the world of Art today).
According to Miss
World 1970, Grenada born Jennifer Housten-Craig - one of
his paintings "The Nutmeg Princess" inspired the
National costume of the 1970 Miss World contest.
Another painting entitled "Dance for Mama and Granpapa" won
the coveted UNICEF first day stamp cover edition in
John Benjamin has been a
stalwart in creative art over the years. The former
supervisor of Art in the Ministry of Education is the
recipient of many international art awards including
Germany, Japan, UK and the Americas.
He was also a great writer
of poetry and succeeded in winning a BBC Prize in its
First Caribbean Poetry Contest in 1980. He held many
art exhibitions both at home and in the Caribbean,
England, Europe, Canada and Tokyo.
He was a student in the
Brighton College of Arts and Crafts - Teacher Training
Department in Sussex, England. A bursary was awarded by
the Government of the United Kingdom - 1961-1962. His
thesis was "the History of Grenada" - identifying the
past home of Governor Ninian Home - British Governor
of Grenada -in the 1800's. The Governor's private home
was in Paraclete.
1995 - Awarded a
golden-letter plaque by the St. Andrews branch of the
Grenada Union of Teachers, for his outstanding
contribution to Art Education in Grenada.
1995 - Award of Excellence
- (sculptured figures), for his outstanding contribution
to the development of tourism in Grenada - presented by
the Minister of Tourism.
1997 - Biography and
"Tribute" included as cited above in collection stamp of
his work printed and commemorated in his honor by said
publication, Lausanne, Switzerland.
He also wrote a book
"Short History of Grenada - new dimensions -1991.
He was born in Paraclete, St. Andrews
and was the son of Masters and Ann Beatrice Benjamin.
He leaves behind, 2 children - Helen and Donna Marie
Benjamin in Holland. One brother, Reynold Benjamin, (Grenville,
St. Andrew's, sister Dorothy Chichester of Springs, St.
George's. Sister-in-law - Nadia Benjamin. Nieces and
nephews - Barbara, Patricia and Brent Chichester, Gentle
and Roland Benjamin and Carol Benjamin-David. Cousins -
Ann, Leslie, Sally-Ann and Lennox Thomas of Paraclete,
St. Andrews. Many friends including Jennifer Housten-Craig,
Tony David, Kathy-Ann Hererrar, Donna Neckles.
Sample of his work and comments from a
Video interview - Grenada in 1986
Seg#1 of 2.
Seg#2 of 2
Reflections from his nephew:
“A loss in the family - The man who
nourished my brain and soul.
With a heavy heart of sorrow, but with joyous inner
outbursts, may Uncle John rest in peace.
John was an inspiration to the human family.
He was and will always remain my most intriguing
philosopher, artist and uncle.
He allowed me to learn from him the art of the study of
human behavior and its complexities.
Simply put, he nourished my brain and soul, and I hope
he has done that for everyone that were fortunate to
have met and know him.
- Roland F. Benjamin -