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.


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