A statue designed by Jamaican artist Basil Watson will go on display at Waterloo station as a tribute to the Windrush Generation.
The 12-ft high statue of three figures, – man, woman and child – dressed in their “Sunday best” are climbing a mountain of suitcases hand-in-hand, demonstrating the inseparable bond of the Windrush pioneers and their descendants and the aspirations of their generation. It was chosen from a list of four designs.
The design will stand as a testament to those who landed in Britain to help rebuild the country, as well as to lay a foundation for their families and their future, influencing and contributing to every aspect of our society.
It will be unveiled at the station on Windrush Day on 22 June 2022 as the country comes together to honour the initial 500 migrants from the Caribbean who arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex in 1948.
Mr Watson said he felt, “truly honoured to be chosen”. He said: “I feel privileged that I now have this opportunity to express the aspirations, vision and courage of my parents, who took the long sea voyage to England in 1952.
“I look forward to bringing my design to life, because I know how much this means to the Windrush community.”
The statue was chosen from four designs and is Mr Watson’s first public artwork to go on display in the UK, where he lived for part of his childhood with his family, who were part of the Windrush generation.
His previous monuments include statues of Usain Bolt in Jamaica and Martin Luther King in Atlanta. Mr Watson was awarded the Order of Distinction in 2016 by the Jamaican government in recognition of his artistic achievements.
Backed by £1 million of government funding, the monument will “stand as a testament to those who stepped ashore to lay a foundation for their families and their future, influencing and contributing to every aspect of our society”, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The design was chosen by the independent Windrush commemoration committee, which is chaired by Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Benjamin.
She said: “This Windrush Monument represents the past, present and future and I hope it will be the catalyst for other monuments commemorating the extraordinary contribution of the Windrush generation to this country.”