Jamaica gifts ‘Ancestral’ art to Canada

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Olivia Grange (centre) examines the sculpture “Ancestral Echoes” while Karen Harriot-Wilson, administrative director, Jamaica 50 Secretariat (left) and Oliver Watt, director of communications in the ministry look on.
Photo courtesy of Jamaica Information Services
Photo courtesy of Jamaica Information Services

Jamaicans in Canada are already celebrating the golden anniversary of their country’s independence. They were given three reasons for an early start to next year’s milestone when the island’s Member of Parliament Olivia Grange shipped artistic creations to Toronto recently.

The minister charged with matters related to youth, sports and culture said the gift was sent “from the government and people of Jamaica to the people of the city of Toronto, Canada.”

The gift – a three-piece sculpture made of mahogany titled “Ancestral Echoes” – celebrates the relationship between Jamaica and Canada and comes as Jamaicans in Toronto launch activities to commemorate the island’s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Grange said the idea of a gift surfaced during a discussion between members of the diaspora group in Toronto and the Jamaica 50 Secretariat.

“We thought that a gift, especially a gift such as ‘Ancestral Echoes,’ was a fitting representation of the bonds between our peoples and the significant strides that we have achieved in Jamaican art and culture since independence,” Grange said. “And so when the Canadian diaspora groups proposed this as a legacy item, the government immediately accepted.”

“This is just one of the kinds of footprints we are planning to leave in diaspora communities across the world as we celebrate Jamaica’s 50th,” Grange added.

Jamaican Leslie (Ted) Williams created the sculpture, which will be mounted at Toronto’s City Hall.

Williams said the piece was conceived while contemplating the struggles of our ancestors during a very painful period in our nation’s history.

“One piece of the sculpture is called ‘The Cry’ and depicts the haunting voices of our forefathers as they responded to the indignities which they had to endure,” he explained.

“Another is named ‘Defiance’ marks the resistance which was mounted by our many sung and unsung heroes whose spirits were never broken, despite the odds.”

“The final piece called ‘Peace’ represents the state to which we aspire as we seek to define ourselves as Jamaicans, in our own voice.”

Jamaica will celebrate 50 years as an independent nation in 2012. The city of Toronto is home to the largest, Jamaican, immigrant population in Canada.

Disney Cruises From Big Apple To Caribbean In 2012

New Yorkers will no longer have to fly to Florida in order to sail to the Caribbean on one of the four family-friendly Disney Cruise Lines. Beginning May 25, 2012 the Disney Magic will depart from a west side pier heading to the Bahamas. Eight-night vacations will be the feature of 20 cruises that also includes stops along the New England coast. Two-day, weekend cruises to Canada are also in the planning. Captain Mickey (Mickey Mouse in Navy gear) disclosed the plans recently at the Lighthouse Restaurant at Chelsea Piers at Pier 61. With all the fanfare of the launch of a new sea vessel, representatives unveiled the northern departure location.

Other new ports of departure include Galveston, Texas and Seattle, Washington. The latter will take the Disney Wonder to Alaska and British Columbia. Vacationers to the western Caribbean will be able to sail from Galveston to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico and Grand Cayman.

Disney cruises comprise the Disney Magic, The Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy.

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