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'Mek A Jamaica' campaign for Negril - Island to be highlighted during Marley celebrations

Published:Thursday | January 24, 2013 | 12:00 AM

 Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer


NEGRIL-BASED artist Ryan Morrison, who is far from amused by the practice of passing off imported cultural items as authentic Jamaican products, is planning an ambitious 'Mek A Jamaica' campaign during the week of celebrations to mark Bob Marley's birthday.

Morrison, who paints under the moniker Kush Art, revealed that the 'Mek A Jamaica' campaign will run from February 3-9 in Negril. The campaign will coincide with resort town's Bob Marley birthday celebrations and will showcase only Jamaican-made products.

'Mek A Jamaica' is for local manufacturers and small business proprietors, who have items that are solely made in Jamaica," said Morrison. "We are being bombarded by too many foreign imports that are being passed off to tourists as authentic items from Jamaica."

Made in China

According to Morrison, based on investigations done, it has been revealed that as much as 80 per cent of the items tourists purchase thinking it's authentic stuff linked to Jamaica's culture are really items that were made in China.

"When you visit any craft market and do an evaluation, the majority of the items there are from China," noted Morrison. "With the 'Mek A Jamaica' campaign, we are making a statement that this has to stop and hope that the Government and tourist stakeholders support the effort to keep the Jamaican experience authentic."

Save Jamaica's cultural legacy

During the Bob Marley birthday celebrations, Morrison said art, craft and fine arts done by renowned Jamaica artists will be on display for purchase at the MXIII lawn, which will be the hub of the celebrations.

"We are encouraging locals to come and be a part of the initiative to save Jamaica's cultural legacy," said Morrison.

Among the prominent Jamaican artists who have already confirmed their participation in the "Mek A Jamaica' campaign are the likes of Barrington Lord, Peter Peart and Lennox Coke. There is also an open invitation to other artists and craft vendors to participate in the event.

"We really need to highlight Jamaica and Jamaican products," emphasised Morrison. "That is a part of the experience tourists pay for and want to have. The beaches are not enough to sustain our tourism. It has to have everyone involved. The small business owners and the local man has to be a part of it to make it work efficiently."