Guyana’s most renowned artist, painter and sculptor Philip Alphonso Moore has died. He was 90.
According to his son, Philip Moore (Jr), his father, the designer behind the 1763 Monument, died quietly in his sleep at around 04:30 hrs yesterday at his home at Lancaster on the Corentyne. According to his son, Moore was bedridden and suffered from ailments of the heart and kidneys.
Moore was born on October 12, 1921, in Manchester Village, Corentyne.
He attended the Manchester Primary School and received a school-leaving certificate in 1938. His childhood was filled with images of friends and neighbours working hard in the fields by day and playing animated games of cricket in the evening. Moore sometimes accompanied his father, a rubber-gatherer, on his expeditions into the tropical forests.
Around 1940 at the age of 19 Moore converted to Jordanite Christianity.
It is said that around 1955, Moore dreamed that a large hand reached down to him from the heavens, and a voice commanded him to begin his career as an artist. This is the reason Moore considered himself to be “spirit-taught.”
The dream was a decisive moment in his life. He began modestly, refining his skills by carving wooden canes and quickly developed proficiency in manipulating tropical hardwoods. By 1964, his intuitive carving abilities came to the attention of local authorities at the Department of Culture, who hired him to teach craft and arts.
In 1976 with the assistance of the government, he created what would be the largest bronze sculpture in the region, Moore’s 1763 Monument, nearly 25 feet tall, sits at the Square of the Revolution.
Apart from his paintings and sculpture Moore taught at the Burrowes School of Art and the Princeton University in the USA as a guest professor. Moore returned to Berbice in 2004 after taking ill, but continued to work from home. He later became bedridden and was being cared for by his children.
Moore sold the bulk of his work to the Department of Culture, which installed his pieces in the National Art Gallery, Castellani House, in Georgetown.
He was the recipient of several awards including the Cacique Crown of Honour.
Moore was the father of five (three of his children are deceased) and was married to Eula Moore (nee Grant) now deceased. He has nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. His son does part time painting and is keen to take up the mantle, having worked with his father on numerous occasions.
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