The robust figure of a man stands straight like a column and his arms are held close to either side of his torso. His face imbues an expression of calm solemnity, as if to convey a moment of contemplation or prayer. Ronald Moody's wood-carvings can be described as simplified or stylized figuration: the work takes a human form with symbolic or allegorical overtones. Working in the early part of the twentieth century, Moody was immersed in a London art world that was exploring abstraction, non-western cultures, and how the quality of materials- in Moody's case the wood grain- affected the final sculpture. Like his contemporary Henry Moore, Moody had been inspired by the ancient Mexican carvings in the British Museum and this work reflects the modernist preoccupation with the so-called 'primitive' arts.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Ronald Moody arrived in London in 1923 to train as a dentist. However his desire to become an artist was overwhelming and he taught himself to carve. Throughout the late 1920s Moody developed his talents and held several exhibitions in London and Paris during the 1930s. This sculpture was carved in Moody's studio in Paris, between May and June in 1939 and has been chosen to mark Black History Month in recognition of the contributions made by Black people to the visual arts. Moody was aware of the necessity to promoting equality and highlighting Black achievements. In 1931 his brother, Harold Moody, founded The League of Coloured Peoples in London to combat the racial prejudice and discrimination and in the mid-1960s Moody joined the Caribbean Artists Movement based in London. In 1977 he was awarded the Musgrave Gold Medal, Jamaica's highest cultural award, followed by the Jamaica Institute Centenary Medal in 1978 for his contributions to art.
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