Constructive Preservation

I am an Arts Manager. I am a Cultural Manager. Art is culture; culture is history. As such, I become the preserver of history – an Arts Manager…

We are African and there are things innate to us that even the Europeans could not change. But as time passes, we lose the connection with our predecessors. Art helped us to understand the changes taking place, keeping us ever-so-slightly connected to our parents. We had pride in past and wanted our future to be freer. But as our past came to pass, we lost our truth. Art became the way that truth was searched for.

As a manager, there is a duty of sharing this search for the truth with the world. I can’t help but feel obligated to keep what was, alive. Still the threat of globalization and cultural erosion bombards the future of the truth we fought so long to hold on to. So what now?

I am an Arts Manager. I am a Cultural Manager. Art is culture; culture is change. As such, I become the constructer of the future – an Arts Manager…

It can be argued that we no longer have the appreciation we once had. Where that can be true, one cannot deny that Jamaica has made herself the centre of a world unknown to herself. Instead of forcing the past into our future, why not help our future push past our past. Let our children grow; teach them what is important, but let them feel what makes them happy. Art is how happiness is contained and displayed. It can also be where turmoil is shed in order to let happiness reside.

Managing gives me the power to conceive a unity that no one sees as possible. The desire to have people understand this new creation is one that burns in the soul of cultural development. Instead of allowing globalization to break us apart we can use it to make us stronger; make us one; make us new.

I am an Arts Manager. I am a Cultural Manager. Art is culture; culture is Jamaica. As such, I become the developer of Jamaica – an Arts Manager.

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Jamaica What?

Whose idea was it that a woman should stay in the home? What changed between then and now? When did women become sex symbols and start belittling themselves? Where do Jamaican women fit in the ‘Jamaican aesthetic’? Why does sex sell? How was it acceptable for women to have many children?

This is what Jamaicans should ponder when they see their country being advertised by a woman of another country, when a woman represents them to the world and she looks nothing like you. But of course, that is excused since it was not too long after slavery was abolished – but what about the picture of women now?

We can safely say that our history has some part to play in how we view or women, but time has passed and things have changed. While many fundamental stereotypes have remained, there are many new ones that have made their way into modern Jamaican society. What am I getting at when I say that?

Sexually, men are pushing this notion of having many girls around them at their beck and call, most of which end up being the mother of their child/children but never their wife. “Tan Tuddy” by Aidonia is one such song.

All these ‘girls’ are jiggling and gyrating themselves for this man for what? A money? I hope not! But of course hope dies with situations like these. Especially when our young girls see these videos and are convinced that this is what a man wants. In the same vein, men love to say women don’t know what they want but BOYS don’t either. So telling them they want a lot of girls to be able to do superhuman things in bed is not going to help.

Then again, men are not to blame for this alone. And no, society has nothing to do with it either. It’s the women who want to be respected in this world – or at least this country. They sing about the same thing while telling girls that they aren’t hot because they lack the looks and style it takes. This takes away from the priorities these girls should have and, not to mention their self-esteem.

Many of the ladies in this video have never lived in the situations of which they speak. They’re not ghetto, nor have some of them ever been impoverished. Yet they conduct themselves as such and even lie to get noticed.

Which of these women would you like your daughter to want to idolize?

Beauty in Culture

Hello Mama Africa; Goodbye Papa Europe. But who is Baby Jamaica?

Culture is the most influences in a society and can be its strongest bonding agent. One of the bigger aspects of culture influenced is art. Art has been in the world since time itself. It was how people communicate, told stories and kept religions alive.

Jamaican art starts from the Tainos. Carvings of what seem to be animals and other figures.

Upon enslavement, art reflected what was going on and followed European styles. Of course the enslaved didn’t produce any pieces.

Modern Art wasn’t developed till the 1920s and began with Edna Manley, a native of Yorkshire, England. With pieces such as

‘Prophet’ (1933) and ‘The Ancestor’ (1978), Manley paved the way for Jamaican art to grow. Yet, she was from England – interesting, don’t you think?

 

Of the many artists that studied under Miss Manley, David Miller Sr. and Jr. were two men that thought it better to make what they see how they see it. Their styles were painstakingly similar and took years to distinguish. Sr. did more imaginative work while Jr. did a lot of exaggeration of features.  It is these exaggerated features that has led to the belief that, along with his father, Miller Jr. helped change the Jamaican’s view of art and race. With pieces such as ‘Girl Surprized’ and ‘Male Head’1949; Miller Jr. showed the world a dignity for his race that not many could attain at that time.

His depiction of black people jumped out at the viewer and almost forced them to see what makes us black.

It is this refusal of European art techniques that has changed the direction of Jamaican art to the Afro-centric, ‘Jamaican identity’ art that it is today.