Young artists pleased to be a part of history - New mural unveiled for Marley’s 75th birthday
Imagine getting a call from the foundation of one of Jamaica’s greatest musicians letting you know his family have been noticing your work and would love to have you create a mural in honour of his 75th birthday? That was the reality of local artist Paige Taylor, who was last week invited by the Bob Marley Foundation to create an art piece that is expected to sit on the walls of the official residence of the late reggae icon forever.
The mural was unveiled during Marley’s 75th birthday celebrations at the Bob Marley Museum last Thursday afternoon. Taylor, who was joined by his assistant, Monique Kidd, told The Gleaner he was shell-shocked when he got the call. He said he had no idea his work was being noticed on such a huge scale that he would be selected to create something to celebrate such a momentous occasion. “I’m not even really sure about the selection process. I just know that I got a call from the Marley Foundation, and it was Bob Marley, so how could I not say yes. It was a surprising call, to say the least,” he said. “But, it’s a good feeling because the talent pool in Jamaica is ridiculous, and to be selected and singled out by an entity like this feels pretty good.”
The piece, titled ‘Redemption’, was conceptualised and executed in approximately three days. Taylor said he was more nervous about the timeline he had to complete the piece than living up to the Marley standard. “I didn’t feel any pressure, save for the timeline, because I started the mural on Saturday and I finished it on Monday which was three days ago, so the timeline was tight. I spent a lot of late nights here and that’s why I have to give thanks to my assistant; she really helped me through a lot,” he said.
Kidd described working on the piece with Taylor as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that she is grateful for. “It was definitely an experience because being here at the Bob Marley Museum, knowing that you’re going to be helping to put some contribution towards the birthday of such an icon in music, it was a great feeling,” she said. “I think that Bob is just a great part of Jamaica’s history. Most of the art that we do involves our culture and so he does come up in many pieces. He has inspired quite a few of us to work harder, to leave a legacy, and just to be able to say, ‘Hey, we did this’, was a great opportunity.”
Taylor, explaining his thought process behind the piece, told The Gleaner that he wanted the work to represent the theme of Marley’s 75th ‘earthstrong’. “The story behind this piece is that it represents the feeling I got from listening to the Redemption Song track. When they explained the theme for this year, I worked off emotions and what I felt that theme would mean to people. To me, redemption means breaking free of your chains and whatever is holding you down, so I tried to represent that,” he said. “I also implemented a few elements from some other Marley songs; so you will see the three little birds and, of course, the image of the strong, black woman. Marley always tribute the black woman in his songs and so that was intentional. He represented for the strong, black women and so I had to also represent.”
The mural sits beside the one of Marley and his children.