Laura Facey-Cooper, the sculptor of the Redemption Song statue which is located at the Emancipation Park in New Kingston, says she was heartened by the outrage from Jamaicans after a carnival reveler found it necessary to gyrate in front of the national symbol.
A female reveler, adorned in her soca costume, climbed on to the fountain area of the statue and danced up a storm during the carnival road march last Sunday.
The incident was captured on video and posted on the Jamaica STAR Instagram page. While some users did not see anything wrong with a half-naked woman dancing on the statue of two naked statues, the majority of users labelled the young woman’s actions as distasteful.
“This right here is disrespectful. Not kool, “one user wrote. “They’ll be whining up on the monument of Nanny next,” another said.
The statue was unveilled in 2003. It has been the subject of much criticism, particularly due to the fact that the statues are naked.
Following Sunday’s incident, Facey Cooper said that although she was a little disappointed, she takes comfort in the fact that so many Jamaicans realise the statue’s significance and came to its defence.
“I was very heartened and impressed by so many people defending the Redemption Song monument. It was illuminating from that point of view,” she said.
“Personally, I would never go on to anybody’s art work in any country and do that on a monument,” she said.
“I am not saying it was ok to do what she did, but seeing it from her point of view, what she was doing is a natural part of our culture. I just think perhaps it was a lack of education or something that caused that kind of action. I saw that she was, shall we say, not fully conscious of what she was doing, and was just having a good time expressing herself.”
Facey Cooper said that it is the duty of park officials to keep the monument safe at all times. She said that more than anything else, the fact that revellers had enough time to get that close to the sculpture shows that security for the statue needs to be tighter.
“It is almost impossible to damage the sculpture because it is made of metal, but it should be protected at all times. I climbed into the monument myself when I was looking at the peeling off of the paint after the so-called restoration last year, and it took 20 minutes for a ranger to notice me,” she said.