PRIME Minister Andrew Holness says as Jamaicans mark 60 years of Independence, the country’s icons in all fields should be honoured and celebrated.
Holness, who was delivering the keynote address at the launch of the Cecil Cooper Foundation on Friday at the Olympia Gallery in St Andrew, said the work and legacy of many Jamaicans need to be highlighted.
“So that our children know about them and are inspired by them. Cecil is one of our Jamaican icons that we must, at all times, honour and celebrate,” the prime minister said.
Cecil Cooper was a renowned and accomplished painter, artist, and educator who began his career as a fine artist and exhibitor in galleries in New York, United Sates. After his return to Jamaica in 1980, he later headed the painting department at his alma mater, the then Jamaica School of Art, now Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
Holness said it was “highly appropriate” that Cooper’s work and legacy has received recognition while benefiting students, noting that the foundation will be providing “a vehicle to ensure that our young people will be taught about his life and work”.
He added that the establishment and launch of the foundation are of “great significance to his family, friends, and to art lovers in Jamaica”.
The prime minister said that last year the Government invested significant resources in funding students in downtown Kingston for classical music lessons, “in our pursuit of security, and use of the security budget”. He said it is a “programme that we might have to expand nationally”.
Annually, several art students will be awarded bursaries and scholarships from the foundation. The prime minister said his Positive Jamaica Foundation will also sponsor one student.