Robin Miller, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The entrepreneurial genius, outrageously witty, at times even contradictory and offensive signs and graffiti visible in every nook and cranny of the island, are but a glimpse of the colourful personality of the Jamaican people.
Kay Sullivan has captured all this and more in 134 pages of breathtaking photographs in her book Land We Love, just in time for Jamaica's golden jubilee.
Choosing the cool, beautifully manicured gardens of Grosvenor Galleries in Manor Park, St Andrew, under bright open skies, to bring back this piece of Jamaican nostalgia, her mid-morning launch on Sunday, July 8, saw a good turnout of friends and well-wishers.
MC Vivian Crawford of the Institute of Jamaica, after a string of wisecracks, urged the audience's support of the book, which he said was "an excellent Christmas gift".
"The past is history, the future a mystery, and the present a gift," he quipped.
Guest Speaker Dr Blossom O'Meally Nelson shared similar sentiments. "It's a book the young people will read and enjoy," she said, pointing out that her grandchildren had already read the book.
She went on to say that the book would be popular with Jamaicans abroad. "Those in the diaspora will love it on a cold winter night."
Sullivan is a noted sculptor whose work has been commissioned by the Government of Jamaica, most notably, the 14-foot figure of the Hon N.N. Nethersole at the Bank of Jamaica and the monuments to Sam Sharpe at the square named in his honour in Montego Bay. She told the audience that there were so many things that one would see when-ever one drove on the streets.
It's those colourful scenarios that the author said fuelled her passion for photography and which kept her "snapping away".
She said Land We Love was nostalgic and she hoped it would be a memory, as she recalled the effect it had on a recent visitor to the island, who commented that it was "like visiting an old friend".
Sister of the author, Betsy Sharp, who has lived in the United States for several years and who came home for the launch, said of the book: "It has really connected me to Jamaica again. It has brought back touch, sight, and feel," reviving the nostalgia that Sullivan set out to achieve.
The photographs in the book are compiled using themes such as 'Home Sweet Home', which captures the old charm of 'country' houses perched on cellars with delicate gingerbread finishes, while 'Signs of the Times' takes off on the expressive and colourful personality of Jamaicans.
Jamaican culture - food, music, religion, and more - come alive in the book with a glimpse of the beloved Love Bird closing out the pages of Land We Love.
Cultural writer and performer Joan Andrea Hutchinson did the script for the more than 100 photographs in the project, which was made possible with the kind assistance of Phoenix Printers, Grace Foods International, and a host of others.
Land We Love is available at Songsters Book Stores and will also be on sale at the O2 Arena in Birmingham.