JTB endorses ‘Pieces of Jamaica’
The length and breadth of Jamaica is replete with idyllic scenes and mesmerising vistas: quaint fishing villages, little board houses perched on hillsides, other-worldly seascapes, rivers meandering under ancient stone bridges, sparkling cascades and waterfalls, cloud-covered mountain peaks, fogs rising from interlocking spurs, lonesome lighthouses looming large against light-blue skies, people roasting breadfruit and corn over a wood fire, etc.
The island is a photographer’s and painter’s dream. And award-winning photo artist David I. Muir and his friend, photographer and fine artist Sean Henry have been capturing these scenes for quite sometime and sharing them by way of a book, Pieces of Jamaica: The Real Rock Edition, and annual art exhibitions.
They are at it again. On Thursday, November 17, inside the gallery of Toyota Jamaica, along Old Hope Road in St Andrew, they officially exposed their latest pieces by way of a book launch, and the opening of an art exhibition that runs until this Saturday.
“The 2022 publication, Pieces of Jamaica: Jamaica Edition, showcases the island, depicting Jamaican locations and culture not typically published or celebrated, creating a meaningful keepsake that inspires nostalgia in visitors and ‘Yardies’ abroad and a patriotic spirit in Jamaican everywhere,” a note from a promotional flyer reads. “The keepsake coffee-table book offering is a visual narrative of Jamaica’s beauty, history and culture.” It is sponsored by Island Syndicate, Sagicor and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), whose acting deputy director of tourism, Peter Mullings, was present to address patrons.
He said it was not the first time the JTB was working with the duo, so “it served as a reminder of the quality of their work and ethics. And when we were approached, we accepted their invitation to support the second edition of Pieces of Jamaica, which we saw as a fitting part of our diamond jubilee effort.” The book was also produced as a way of commemorating Jamaica’s 60th year of Independence, as indicated by the Jamaica 60 logo emblazoned on the cover jacket.
It is a symbiotic relationship, as through their arrangement, the JTB will have access to select images from the book that it will be incorporating into its various campaigns. “To be able to capture and communicate the beauty of the ordinary though artistry is extraordinary; and David and Sean, and their team, have successfully created and curated a unique and interesting visual narrative,” Muir said. It will be added to the JTB library, housed in the Clive Taffe Information and Resources Centre, “as a valuable resource to be shared for generations to come”.
“We look forward to sharing this ‘piece of Jamaica’ with visitors, journalists, students, and many others, including those we encounter along the way, as an invitation to discover Jamaica, as we continue to beckon and welcome travellers to our shores … . I would like to take this opportunity to thank David and Sean and their team for this labour of love, capturing and documenting the Jamaican experience to preserve our culture through their lenses and canvases, and for their efforts to take Jamaica to the world through this publication,” Mulling said in closing.
In addressing the gathering, while Henry stood beside him, Muir said about the endorsement, “We are undoubtedly grateful … . They thought we did something great, and they helped us to bring it to the fore.” It is not easy to get the JTB on board projects such as these, both men suggested in a one-on-one with The Gleaner, so Henry is “very happy”, and believes that the recognition will open doors for other artists. Muir said it “is the most wonderful feeling”, and that he was “very proud” of it. It speaks volume about the high quality of the project, and its tourism value.
“I want people to appreciate my showing them the positive and beautiful parts of Jamaica, Jamaican people, Jamaican culture, Jamaican heritage,” Muir said, when he was asked how he wanted people to regard the book, whose production, he said, was “challenging, but enjoyable” at the same time.
For Henry, Jamaica is more than sea, sand, sun and coffee. “I want them to see the value in us as Jamaicans, see the value within ourselves,” he said. The subjects in his paintings hanging from the four walls of the gallery, and in some of the pictures in the book are invariably the ‘ordinary’ folk in their unpretentious spaces. “They are the backbone of Jamaica,” he said. He has been exhibiting since 2012, and the pieces in this year’s show were created from 2018 to this year.
He was earlier supported by Mullings, who said the book “pays tribute to our people and our rich heritage, and the influence our small island has had, and continues to have, on the rest of the world; and the pride we have as a people in our individual and collective accomplishments as a country”.