Today Waterloo station unveiled a striking sculpture commemorating the Windrush generation, which will greet passengers arriving to and travelling from the station. The National Windrush Monument, designed by Jamaican artist Basil Watson, was unveiled by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. Baroness Floella Benjamin, Chair of The Windrush Commemoration Committee, and the mayor of London were also in attendance.
The bronze sculpture, which stands some 12 feet, or 3.65 metres, tall, can be found just behind the station’s main entrance. It depicts a man, woman, and child in their ‘Sunday best’ clothes. They stand atop a pile of bulging suitcase that threaten to spill their contents. According to Basil Watson the suitcases represent “everything this family has in their possession from their place of origin — in this case the Caribbean. [They] holds within [them] all things valuable.”
Basil Watson, himself a descendent of members of the Windrush generation, said the following:
“My parents, along with a great many others, took the long arduous voyage from the Caribbean with very little or nothing other than their aspirations, their courage and a promise of opportunity for advancement.
“This monument tells that story of hope, determination, a strong belief in selves and a vison for the future.”
Baroness Floella Benjamin, Chair of The Windrush Commemoration Committee, had the following to say about the National Windrush Memorial:
“The National Windrush Monument will be a permanent place of reflection, celebration and inspiration for Caribbean communities and the wider public, especially children.
“It will act as a symbolic link to our past and a permanent reminder of our shared history and heritage for generations to come. I hope it will be a catalyst for other monuments across Britain commemorating the extraordinary contribution to this country by the Windrush generation.
I am grateful to the members of the Windrush Commemoration Committee for their boundless dedication to ensuring this monument comes to fruition, and hope the Caribbean communities who we have sought to serve, believe that we have done them justice.”
Elsewhere in the city, London-based artist Thomas J Price also unveiled his own work commemorating the Windrush generation. Price’s sculpture, entitled ‘Warm Shores’, is a composite of 3D scans collected after an open call to the Hackney community for anyone with a personal connection to Windrush. 3D scans of 30 participants, from the ages of 20-91, were combined to make up the two Caribbean figures depicted.