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Nash calls for effigy making to be taught in schools

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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HUGH Nash, chairman of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, believes that effigy making should be reintroduced as part of schools' art and craft curriculum.

According to Nash — who has been part of Jamaica's festival celebrations since 1962 — the education ministry could reposition the art form as a skill of great commercial value.

“It is a mix of art and craft, and one of the greatest things about it is the recycling element. What you are in essence doing is taking items like old newspaper that would otherwise have been thrown away and producing a raw material that is malleable and can be used to produce many forms of items, some of which may be decorative, entertaining and educational,” said Nash.

“This is a skill that can be used to help with artistic development of young people. It sets a foundation that could see people going on to become sculptors and [working in] related careers,” he continued.

Made from papier mâché — which can be created using basic household items including glue, flour wallpaper powder and newspaper — effigies were quite common during Jamaica's Independence celebrations.

According to Nash, effigies made their first appearance in 1964 festival celebrations. It was, however, discontinued in the 1990s.

“When we started out, we had a Canadian guy who would build the effigies and he taught many local people the skill. But after his passing, the craft wasn't practised much,” he said.

The recently concluded Jamaica 55 Independence celebrations held at the National Stadium in St Andrew saw several effigies on display. They included national heroes Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, George William Gordon, Sam Sharpe, Sir Alexander Bustamante, Norman Manley and Nanny of the Maroons, as well as national folk icon Louise “Miss Lou” Bennett-Coverley and sprinter Usain Bolt.

“It was good that we were able to reintroduce it this year with the help of the Americans, and I hope that this is the revitalisation of a good thing that can offer career opportunities to many who are seeking to develop a skill,” he added.









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