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One of my recent discoveries while exploring Barbados is the Standing Stones of Paradise Beach. My last post covered the story of Paradise Beach, once thriving with tourists but now one of the less frequented beaches. However, I left out photos of the Standing Stones, as they are worthy of their own little photo gallery.
Most people here in Barbados seem to think I’m a little crazy for the amount of walking I’ve done. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed exploring every literal inch of the island. And without the long walks, I wouldn’t have found these sculptures which rest on a rocky part of the shore between Paradise Beach and Batts Rock Beach.
Having previously lived in Florida, I’ve seen plenty of little zen stone sculptures on the beach before. None of them quite compare to what you get with this version of standing stones, though.
A local named Philip King carefully places the stones, building each statue one by one. I’ve been told that he was once a dancer – and clearly a master of art and balance in many forms. The sculptures are ever-changing, as some fall and some wash away when the sea is high. Worse yet, the National Conservation Commission (NCC) of Barbados “dealt with” the stone structures in 2016, knocking them down and causing controversy and backlash from Bajan creatives. But King returned and built them anew, and as of 2021, he still comes back regularly to add more.
Though I haven’t gotten to catch the artist in action (yet), the statues on their own are plenty fascinating. The longer I stared at them, the more aware I became of the talent and patience they must’ve taken. Though a little off the beaten track, these stones are now considered a local landmark. Natives and tourists alike come to visit them, and they’re definitely a worthy pit stop for any photographer!
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We saw these cairns from a distance, asked our tour guide about them then Googled a few keywords that led me here. Such an amazing story and a unique piece of the world that felt special to visit.
Thanks for adding details to the legend we heard. I’m devasted that they were knocked down…legend currently states they’ve withstood hurricanes!
Awesome that you got to see them and thank you so much, as well Rayne! Your comment brought to my attention that I need to update this article as I finally did get to meet and talk to Mr. King a couple months back – he is a very kind and humble soul. The statues have definitely weathered a number of big storms and heavy rainfalls, and I know he’s dedicated and passionate enough that he’ll be out there every week to build them anew. Fortunately, I think he has enough of a supportive following now that no one intentionally destroys his art display. The collection of statues there right now is as large as I’ve ever seen it!
I'm a rainbow haired music photographer, travel blogger and graphic designer... but unlike many others, I haven't quit my day job! I'm currently living in Barbados, sharing my favorite beach photos, experiences, adventures and just hoping to add a little color and inspiration to your life!
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Great job Lizzy. Keep up the good work