Rudi Patterson: Visions of Colour

By Black Cultural Archives

In London's Swinging ‘60s, Rudi Patterson was a self-propelled
star. His final art exhibition, entitled 'Visions of Colour', was held in 2011 in the West Indian-owned Effra Hall Tavern in Brixton. He said at the time, aged in his late-seventies: “I’m inspired by natural beauty and harmony; I love to
paint.”

Palm Tree by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

From Duckenfield to Notting Hill

Patterson was born in 1933 in rural Duckenfield, in the western parish of St Thomas, Jamaica, and educated in the island's capital Kingston.

Village life, the imposing mountains, lush flora and vegetation, vivid colours, magnificent trees and rivers, would many years later form the key inspiration for his painting.

Impasto Flowers by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Within a few years of arriving penniless in London, from late colonial Jamaica, Patterson had established himself as an artist, model, stage and film actor, appearing in early editions of Z Cars, The Professionals, The Rolling Stones' film ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, and repertory theatres up and down the country.

Silver Tree Plantation by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Patterson gradually found his own unique and consistent painting style.

It was an idealised and romanticised dream of the Jamaican countryside of his childhood, created in distinctly non-tropical London.

Forget Me Not by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

A Jamaican – even the city dweller or diaspora member – finds their own story in sonorous landscapes: montane, agricultural, domestic, sometimes peopled.

Blue Mountains by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Arcadia meant something different in 20th century Jamaica to what it meant in 20th century Britain, but it still meant something.

Poppyfield by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Patterson intuitively combines something European with something African-derived and uniquely Caribbean – all made in the crucible of London.

Caribbean Poppies by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Visions of the Caribbean

Patterson's paintings were almost always landscapes and gardens of the Caribbean, even though they were created largely from memory in a series of tiny West London council flats, adorned – like the paintings – with vivid flowers and tropical plants.

Flowers by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Poppyfield II by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Flora Extravaganza by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

House Plant Blue by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Trelawny Beach by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Country Village by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Tropical Heat by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Trees by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Double Hibiscus by Rudi PattersonBlack Cultural Archives

Visit Black Cultural Archives

Learn more about Rudi Patterson and other Black artists by visiting BCA in Brixton, London.

Credits: Story

The copyright of this collection is held by the Rudi Patterson Estate, and the images are presented in partnership with Black Cultural Archives.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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