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Frank Walter

Frank Walter was an Antiguan painter, sculptor, writer, and philosopher. He worked largely worked in seclusion in his middle age; his ideas, writings and art were never fully appreciated during his lifetime. A radical reappraisal of his legacy in the decade since his death, however, has brought his work to a wider international audience. Today, Walter is recognised as being one of the most complex and visionary chroniclers of the twentieth century. Walter’s biographical and creative journey is one of ascendence, transcendence and duality. As the offspring of both enslaved persons and German slave owners, he became the first Black man to hold the position of manager on Antigua. From 1953 to 1961 he lived in Europe and the U.K., where persistent racism had lasting effects on his mental health. Walter’s later abandonment of society to live as a semi-recluse in rural Antigua, however, was ultimately liberating. Forsaking all social conventions or expectations, he henceforth dedicated himself to his unique philosophical and prescient universe, to which he gave prolific expression in both words and images. As both the embodiment of the post-colonial era and exemplar of a truly universal man, Frank Walter is an artist whose legacy allows us to see the world from an entirely unique perspective.

Francis Archibald Wentworth Walter (b. 1926, Horsford, UK; d. 2009, Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda) was honoured with a retrospective in Antigua and Barbuda’s inaugural National Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale and at the Museum für Moderne Kunst in 2020. Selected solo exhibitions include: Garden Museum, London (2023); Harewood House, Leeds (2017); and The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin (2013). In 2019, his work was also featured at the 58th Venice Biennale as part of the group exhibition Find Yourself: Carnival and Resistance.

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Selected Images

  • Cricket Player, n.d.

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  • Sir George Walter Counting on His Fingers, n.d.

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  • Untitled (Tourists on Paddleboats), n.d.

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  • Self-Portrait, n.d.

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  • Untitled (Pink Sky, White Birds, Black Fence), n.d.

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  • Untitled (Diagonal Horizon with Orange Sun and Blue Sea), n.d.

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  • Untitled (Red Flowering Tree, Yellow Sky), n.d.

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  • Untitled (Purple Trees, Green Land), n.d.

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  • Untitled (Green Leaves, Royal Blue Background), n.d.

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  • Untitled (Black Dog, Black Horse), n.d.

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  • Untitled, n.d.

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  • Untitled (Woman with High, Round Cheekbones), n.d.

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  • Some Great Minds Are Searching for Ways to Control and Welcome Your Ideas, n.d.

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  • The Best of the Rest, n.d.

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  • Hypnosis, n.d.

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  • Abstract Red Birds, n.d.

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  • Arawak-Inspired Head, n.d.

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  • Unpublished Autobiography, 1974–1985

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Exhibition

Publications

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