Karl Broodhagen

THE sculptor and painter, Karl Broodhagen, whose work found its way into private collections and galleries worldwide, has died at his home on Barbados. He was 93.

He is best known for three bronze public statues that are local landmarks - the statue of Barbados’s first premier, Sir Grantley Adams, which stands in front of government headquarters, the Emancipation Statue, popularly known as the "Bussa" statue, after the leader of an 1816 slave revolt, and one of the legendary Barbadian cricketer, Sir Garfield Sobers.

Broodhagen was renowned for his appreciation of the human form, particularly of West Indian women. He told an art critic in 1961 that one aim of his work was "to replace the European standards of beauty still slavishly accepted in the West Indies by standards based on the local inhabitants themselves."

This he did in a number of striking, earthy oil paintings of self-possessed Caribbean women with steady, penetrating gazes.

Broodhagen was born in Guyana, then British Guiana, in 1909, but he moved to Barbados when he was 15. He worked as a tailor then as an art teacher. He won a scholarship to study art at Goldsmith’s College in London in 1952, but a lack of money forced him to return to Barbados before completing the course.

He taught art until his retirement in 1996.