Thu | Oct 22, 2020

Mural celebrates community spirit at Henley Road

Published:Sunday | August 9, 2020 | 12:09 AMJonielle Daley - Gleaner Intern
Looking at the mural from left are Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, chairman of J. Wray and Nephew; Anthony Hylton, MP; Greg Bailey, artist in charge of mural painting and design; and Miriam Hinds-Smith, dean of the School of the Visual Arts, Edna Manley Coll
Looking at the mural from left are Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, chairman of J. Wray and Nephew; Anthony Hylton, MP; Greg Bailey, artist in charge of mural painting and design; and Miriam Hinds-Smith, dean of the School of the Visual Arts, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, after the symbolic handover on Henley Road off Spanish Town Road. The mural is part of Wray and Nephew’s 195th anniversary celebrations.

Residents of Henley Road in the gritty St Andrew community of Waterhouse now have a mural that highlights and celebrates community spirit. The mural has been gifted by J. Wray & Nephew Ltd (JWN) and was executed by the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

In celebration of JWN’s 195 years of operation, the roadside mural depicts Jamaican identity while transitioning through scenes of native culture. JWN’s Senior Director of Public Affairs Tanikie McClarthy Allen told Arts and Education that the company aimed to bring to life a blank canvas and foster community spirit.

“We are a part of what it means to be Jamaican. We are part of the tapestry of the culture,” said McClarthy Allen.

At the centre of the mural is a “tree of life”. The leaves are depicted by 195 hand prints of children of Waterhouse, members of the community council, and staffers of JWN.

Community contribution

McClarthy Allen said that the company wanted to make the community members part of the process so that they could contribute to the mural.

“We wanted a platform that would allow a wide cross section of persons to see themselves on this platform on a daily basis,” she said.

The anniversary celebration and the first of many phases were completed with the hand print of St Andrew Western Member of Parliament Anthony Hylton.

Miriam Hinds-Smith, dean of the School of Visual Arts, said that the mural could be a powerful symbol of community strength and unity.

“Regardless of what the people have been through, they remain affirmed as the life, blood, and roots of the place,” Hinds-Smith said.

The lecturer who led the design and painting of the mural, Greg Bailey, said that the initiative not only exposed members of the community to the possibilities of becoming artists, but presented art as a pivotal point of social discourse.

Clover Smith, a long-time beneficiary of JWN’s work in Waterhouse, was elated at the mural’s “beautiful background that is a part of peace, love, and unity”.

Plans are being made to partner with local authorities to erect a park at the end of the road.

jonielle.daley@gleanerjm.com