The National Library of Jamaica, 12 East Street, was one of the last stops for Etana 'The Strong One' hours before the launch of her latest album, Better Tomorrow.
The colourful and effervescent Etana dropped in at the National Library of Jamaica's Open Day on March 6 to make her legal deposit - adding her newest album to the national collection of Jamaican works housed at the library. Before leaving, the Strong One belted out the refrain of Strongest, giving a taste of what was to come at the launch later that night.
As the afternoon progressed, reggae star Freddie McGregor also stopped by, mingled with visitors to the National Library's exhibitions on the visual and performing arts, joined a tour of the library and made a legal deposit of his latest CD, Di Captain.
A number of authors, including Jean Lowrie-Chin, also gave copies of their books to the National Library of Jamaica. Legal deposit is a law effected in 2004 that makes it mandatory for two copies of every published printed document and one copy of every published audiovisual document to be deposited with the National Library of Jamaica. The materials form the national collection and are preserved for posterity.
The day started off with a short ceremony in which the audience was treated to poetry reading by Cleon 'Ras JaJa' Golding and a medley of folk songs from library staff member Monique Forgie-Scott. Reflecting on the day's theme, 'Celebrating the Arts', guest speaker the Rev Peter Espeut told the audience that "the arts has to do with reflection and contemplation". He encouraged Jamaicans to reflect and document their stories in whatever art form. Rev Espeut said this would allow others in the future to learn about Jamaica as it exists today.
Other highlights of the day were panel discussions. Visitors to the library heard from photographers Peter Ferguson, Monica DaSilva, and Dr David Boxer, as well as playwright Paul O. Beale and author Dennis Howard, who all shared their experiences publishing their work in the visual and performing arts.
questions and answer
The two sessions of presentations by the panelists were followed by engaging periods of questions and answers. At the end, all panelists concurred that there is an urgent need to document all aspects of Jamaica's development and history, particularly the visual and performing arts.
Already, 2013 has seen the release of new publications documenting aspects of Jamaica and the Caribbean's history. These include Claudia Hucke's Picturing the Post Colonial Nation: (Inter) Nationalism in the Art of Jamaica 1962-1975; Michael Ayre's The Caribbean in Sepia: A History in Photographs 1840-1900 and from the David Boxer collection, Jamaica in Black and White: Photography in Jamaica c.1845-c.1920.
The Library's Open Day was part of this year's Kingston Book Festival activities. Scores of students and members of the public were given a first-hand look at some of the treasures kept at the National Library and observed techniques used to preserve centuries-old paper.