Masterworks accepts Barnes statue
The iconic Johnny Barnes statue has been donated to the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.
The bronze statue was erected in 1998 after a fundraising campaign by the Spirit of Bermuda Foundation, a group set up by entrepreneur Jim Butterfield.
Now Mr Butterfield has handed the statue over to the gallery, which was founded by his brother Tom Butterfield.
It will remain at its location on East Broadway.
Tom Butterfield said: “We were approached with the idea and, of course, what could be more Bermudian?
“What we have now is a showcase of genuine pride and humanity.
“We were very happy to take on this asset as it was a visible way of promoting our museum.
“We, as custodians, keepers and displayers of all things Bermudian, couldn’t feel better about such a gift and acquisition.”
The statue, created by Bermudian sculptor Desmond Fountain, depicts Mr Barnes in his world-famous pose greeting commuters at the Crow Lane roundabout on East Broadway.
Jim Butterfield said that he decided to raise funds for the statue when Mr Barnes was absent from his regular spot because he was in hospital.
He said: “We raised the money by way of nickels and dimes and dollars from everyone you could imagine.
“It was a real public campaign. Some people didn’t like the idea of it because he wasn’t a politician or a bishop or a war hero.
“But I picked him because he is this loving spirit who every morning yells ‘I love you, I love you’.
“It seemed so appropriate. He was the spirit of Bermuda.”
Mr Barnes died aged 93 in 2016 and his widow Belvina said that his dying wish was that Bermuda “share love and kindness with each other”.
A replica of the statue was erected at the Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute in Ontario, Canada, in 2015.
The replica was donated to the school by a Canadian family who commissioned it after getting to know Mr Barnes during their frequent travels to Bermuda.
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