Letters to the Editor

Painting the Redemption Song a travesty!

Friday, December 08, 2017

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Dear Editor,

I was travelling along Oxford Road last week when I saw that the Emancipation Park monument titled Redemption Song, located at the corner of Oxford Road and Knutsford Boulevard had been painted with what appears to be black oil paint. I could not believe my eyes and I could not imagine who could have authorised such a travesty.

I wondered if the artist had been consulted. The answer, I discovered, was no.

Obviously the caretakers of the Emancipation Park monument were ignorant of the fact that this was an original work of art and as such should never be altered in any detail without first consulting the artist or, if the artist is unavailable, a professional art restorer.

Secondly, they didn't seem to care that the Redemption Song was cast in bronze, one the most beautiful and enduring materials available for casting sculpture. Some may be aware that there are many bronze sculptures all over the world, some of them hundreds of years old that are just as or more beautiful today that the day they were made. This is because bronze has a patina (finish) of its own. In the case of the Redemption Song, a dark patina, put there by the artist, and this patina grows more beautiful with age if left untouched.

These qualities are some of the reasons the Emancipation Park monument was commissioned by the Government of Jamaica to be cast in bronze as symbol of the importance of this event to the history and people of Jamaica.

The people of Jamaica are now faced with the difficult task of restoring this piece. We cannot afford to ignore this matter as failure to respond appropriately would place our other national monuments in danger of being treated with similar disregard. For example, the newly unveiled statue in honour of Usain Bolt or other statues at the National Stadium or the Bob Marley statue on Arthur Wint Drive, etc, are we going to paint those black as well?

I hope not.

In closing, I would like to suggest that public servants who are charged with the care and maintenance of these monuments be given information as to the best methods for achieving this and, by so doing, preserve them for generations to come.


Hope Brooks


Former Vice-Principal, Academic and Technical Studies

Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts

Kingston 6





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