CAB founders John La Rose and Andrew Salkley with writer Sam Selvon, photographed by Horace Ové in 1972
Get Up, Stand Up Now

Caribbean Artist Movement: Life Lessons

04 Jul 2019

The Caribbean Artist Movement (CAM) was set up in London in 1966 with the aim of celebrating and promoting the work of artists, writers, poets, dramatists, filmmakers, actors and musicians from across the Caribbean to the British public.

Get Up, Stand Up Now contributor Errol Lloyd was a member of this remarkable group. Lloyd was born in Jamaica and came to London in the 1960s to study law, but turned to art whilst he was completing his studies. The Caribbean Artist Movement became a supportive network for himself and other artists and creatives from the diaspora.

Lloyd recalls that, “The CAM founders, Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite, Trinidadian publisher John La Rose and Jamaican/Panamanian novelist and poet Andrew Salkey, as well as the older members, were a great source of encouragement and support for young aspiring writers and artists.”


Aubrey Williams, Carib Ritual IV, 1973
Aubrey Williams, Carib Ritual IV, 1973

It was through his involvement with the Caribbean Artist Movement in 1966 that he came to exhibit his paintings with the group:

“As a law student embarking on a creative path I was indebted to painter Aubrey Williams who taught me to stretch my own canvasses and advised me where best to source art materials. When I had my first one-man exhibition in London, poet Kamau Brathwaite found time to support the private view with an organised poetry reading. Years later when I began to write about CAM, he dubbed me the CAMbassador.”


Errol Lloyd, The Lesson, 1972
Errol Lloyd, The Lesson, 1972

“Trinidadian born actress and theatrical and literary agent Pearl Connor introduced me to Andrew Salkey, who was one of the first people to buy my paintings and, when I later turned to children’s literature, was very supportive with writing advice.

“John La Rose and Sarah White, founders of New Beacon Books, and Eric and Jessica Huntley of Bogle L’Ouverture Publications commissioned me to do a good number of their book cover designs, which helped me make my way as a professional artist.”


Book cover for Cudjoe the Maroon designed by Errol Lloyd published by Alison & Busby in 1977
Book cover for Cudjoe the Maroon designed by Errol Lloyd published by Alison & Busby in 1977

The group included sculptor Ron Moody, who would become an important figure in Lloyd’s career. “Ronald Moody taught me how to cast my sculpture in bronze resin in his Fulham studio. He had trained as a dentist and brought a precise, scientific approach to the process.”

Subsequently Lloyd worked on commissioned busts of a number of prominent West Indians, including Sir Alexander Bustamante, Lord Pitt, C.L.R. James, Gary Sobers, John La Rose and George Lamming.

“At the outset of CAM I had the privilege to work on a commissioned bust of the great C.L.R. James, one of the most formidable intellects of his day. Sittings were at his Willesden home, and I made sure not to hurry the process in order to savour extended moments in his company. The bust of C.L.R. James led to several more commissioned bronze busts of prominent West Indians, including those of Sir Alexander Bustamante, past Prime Minister of Jamaica, cricketer Sir Garfield Sobers, politician Lord Pitt, John La Rose, Linton Kwesi Johnson and others.”

His bust of Linton Kwesi Johnson is Lloyd’s salute to Johnson’s commanding voice in performance, his poetry and courage in challenging the forces of oppression in society, giving voice to popular protest.


Errol Lloyd, Linton Kwesi Johnson Bronze Bust, 2006
Errol Lloyd, Linton Kwesi Johnson Bronze Bust, 2006

Errol Lloyd's text on the Caribbean Artist Movement is published in our Get Up, Stand Up Now exhibition catalogue, available now from our online shop.

Get Up, Stand Up Now mini documentary, featuring Errol Lloyd