MONTEGO BAY, St James — A ramshackle space occupied, years ago, by an open-air amphitheatre has now been transformed with the installation of a work of art.
The sculpture and landscaping of the area have been getting high marks from residents of Montego Bay, and the woman responsible for the work done is hoping it will inspire other members of corporate Jamaica to take on similar projects.
"The sculpture is called Together United... which I always wanted to represent all of us together as a team, the people of Jamaica," businesswoman Isiaa Madden told the Jamaica Observer.
She is a director at the family owned Madden's Funeral Home and Crematorium and a well-respected architect.
"We can't accomplish anything without being united and together, and it's kind of like an encouragement for what is happening in today's world where everybody is for themselves. We have to get back to being together. The only way we can tackle crime is get together, the only way we can tackle poverty is to help one another, the only way we can achieve is to be together," she reasoned.
The metal sculpture shows three human forms standing in a circle, hands aloft and reaching towards the sky. Located near a set of traffic lights on the busy Howard Cooke Boulevard, it is visible, in all its glory, to anyone entering and leaving from the eastern end of the city.
Done to mark Jamaica 60 celebrations, the sculpture was installed in mid-August. The finishing touches still being added include more landscaping along with painting of the kerb and walkway. Madden anticipates that these will be completed soon.
"I have lived in Montego Bay since I was four, and being an architect you always want to beautify the surroundings around you," she said of her reason for taking on the project. "We all like beautiful places — look at the [Harmony Beach] park and how much it has been used since it has been renovated."
She said it was an easy decision to approach the St James Municipal Corporation to have the sculpture done under the Adopt-a-Verge Programme that was launched in the parish in May 2015. The programme focuses on the beautification and maintenance of plants in selected public spaces in Montego Bay and is aimed at improving the visual appearance of the city and parish.
Together United was a perfect fit.
An artist out of Kingston, Lisa Lindo, was contracted to do the statue and another artist, Lisa Strobel, has been retained for the paintwork. Jahtopia Landscaping was brought on board for the landscaping.
Madden has given a commitment to ensuring that the space is maintained.
"As an architect, and being in charge of Dovecot, I have the resources to landscape areas... I always wanted to be a part of beautifying Montego Bay," she said.
"I am going to approach a couple of my colleagues who I know very well, private sector colleagues, to probably help us to continue down Howard Cooke [Boulevard] — that verge in the centre — because it's a main thoroughfare in Montego Bay where we can add something and then we can create a programme to just maintain it," she said.
Councillor for the Montego Bay South Division Richard Vernon has welcomed the move.
"We are encouraging more of them to look around Montego Bay, look around at the green spaces that are available, and engage us in adopting those sections for further beautification," he told the Observer.
"I am happy that our corporate member is looking around and wanting to partner with us to beautify our space so that we can be very pleased with the aesthetic of the city. We welcome it and we endorse it and we're looking for others to do the same," he added.