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Artist selected to create sculpture of late congressman John Lewis

World-renowned artist Basil Watson is tasked with capturing the soul and spirit of Lewis in a statue, which will be displayed in Decatur Square.

ATLANTA — An artist has been selected to help honor the legacy of Georgia's late U.S. Congressman and Civil Rights Activist John Lewis.

World-renowned artist Basil Watson was chosen to create a statue of Lewis in Decatur Square. 

The John Lewis Commemorative Task Force made the announcement Thursday night. Watson is tasked with capturing the soul and spirit of Lewis. 

"I am very proud and find it a distinct honor to be chosen to reflect John Lewis," he said. 

Watson is originally from Jamaica but has been working in a studio in Atlanta for the last 20 years. He has also created several other statues across Atlanta including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sculpture, located at the back of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, on MLK Boulevard. 

"I'm hoping, is a meaningful contribution to the story of Civil Rights and justice and equality in... not just Atlanta, but in the United States and in the world," he said.

Watson said he will start building the statue in the New Year and expects it to be done in about a year and a half.

"The concept centers around my impression of John Lewis as a man of great compassion and empathy. I think these are strong qualities that guide his being," Watson added. "His hands will be clasped over his heart as an expression of love and understanding, and pain and suffering, but hope as well."

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