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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 1985. 

 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.

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Sample of his work and comments from a fan:
http://www.westindiesbooks.com/BenjaminJohn01.aspx
 

Video interview - Grenada in 1986
Seg#1 of 2.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZsQjMiH-Kk

Seg#2 of 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXxY6N871qk&feature=channel

 

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 -

             

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