Ins & Outs of Barbados 2023

128 Art &Craft Barbados recently lost a national treasure with the passing of artist Jill Walker at the age of 94. A household name and a Barbadian trademark for 60 years, Jill was perhaps best known for her prints of quintessential Barbadian scenes and traditional architecture, painted using ‘pen and wash’ in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Painting on location, she depicted people that passed by, enjoying curious comments about “de painting lady”. An English-born artist, with sound professional training, she worked initially in London theatres. She left post-war Britain, her spirit of adventure taking her on a one- way ticket to British Guiana where, on the evening of her arrival, she met a handsome young Scotsman, architect Jimmy Walker. After Hurricane Janet hit Barbados in 1955, Jimmy was brought here by the British Government to assist the thousands who lost their homes. In 1960, then in private practice, they settled here to build the Sandy Lane Hotel, Jimmy’s firm having won the contract. Jill painted prolifically, exhibiting at virtually sold-out exhibitions at the Barbados Museum & Historical Society and Sandy Lane. Famous for her remarkable paintings of buildings, people, landscapes, seascapes and gardens revealing a rich palette and an extraordinary versatility. For Jill and Jimmy it was a happy time as together they raised their young family. In 1975 Jimmy retired from architecture and together they started the successful art and craft business Best of Barbados. Their vision was to create and sell gifts made or designed in Barbados, giving talented Barbadians an outlet in which to sell their work and for Jill’s creative designs. Jill has been a special part of Ins and Outs of Barbados’ own journey, featuring in many of our magazines through the years. She painted until she was 90, feeling she had had ‘a good run’. Her legacy will live on in her many paintings and drawings, forming an important historical archive of Barbados’ built heritage and nostalgic depiction of daily life in bygone days. Her life story and most beloved paintings and drawings are compiled in several books and a documentary . JillWalker BCH, BJH Award-Winning Artist and Social Commentator