4 Oct 2023-25 Feb 2024

Garden Museum
London SE1 7LB


This exhibition will present the landscape and nature paintings of Antiguan artist Frank Walter (1926-2009), exploring his genius as a gardener and early conservationist on the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, and Dominica, as well as one of the most distinctive figures in modern Caribbean art.

Artist, environmentalist, intellectual, and philosopher, Frank Walter led a pioneering and unique life: he was the first Black man to manage a sugar plantation in Antigua (aged 22) and ran an (unsuccessful) campaign to become Prime Minister there in 1969 on a visionary environmental and social justice platform.

As a direct descendant of both enslaved persons and plantation owners, Walter became obsessed with his own genealogy, believing himself to be related to King Charles II through the White slave owners in his ancestry, self-titling himself the 7th Prince of the West Indies, Lord of Follies and the Ding-a-Ding Nook. He travelled Europe for eight years in the 1950’s, where he fell in love with British landscapes which he repeatedly returned to in his paintings.

Walter’s experiences of living in both 1950’s Great Britain and for later decades in the Antiguan and Dominican countryside led to a series of landscapes exploring environmentalism, Caribbean and Black identity, and the complexity of nature. This immersive exhibition will be the first museum show dedicated to a gardener of Caribbean heritage and will transport visitors to Walter’s “castle on a hill” in Antigua, utilising original set design and a newly commissioned soundscape.

Guest curation by Professor Barbara Paca, Ph.D., O.B.E.