The Full Story
A statuette depicting the likeness of globally renowned cultural icon, Dr. the Hon. Louise “Miss Lou” Bennett-Coverley, was unveiled at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Library in St. Andrew, on Wednesday (September 7).
The unveiling formed part of the opening of the Miss Lou Exhibition, which is among several activities being held to commemorate the 103rd anniversary of the birth of one of the foremost exponents of Jamaican culture.
The exhibition, which is now open to the public and slated to run until September 30, features the prolific creative works of the beloved cultural icon.
It chronicles the extensive work of Miss Lou, whose wit and prose captured and celebrated Jamaica’s colourful and unique culture.
The event also featured the launch of activities marking the 20th anniversary of the UWI Mona Jamaican Language Unit’s establishment, as well as award-winning performances by several schools and groups that participated in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) 2022 National Festival of the Performing Arts.
Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, in her address at the exhibition’s opening, hailed Dr. Bennett-Coverley’s contribution to the widespread promotion of Jamaican culture.
“We celebrate Miss Lou’s impact on our Jamaican society and life. Her work was built on her love for Jamaicans. As such, every movement, every pronouncement, every jab at our society’s hypocritical norms was delivered with the kind of truth and bravado that allowed us to laugh at ourselves through her work,” she said.
Ms. Grange, who noted that Miss Lou was considered by many as the ‘Mother of Jamaica’s Culture’, said she epitomised the substance of the Jamaican character.
The Minister further pointed out that Miss Lou was able to articulate the sociological and political aspects of Jamaican life as depicted through the politics of culture and identity.
“Hers was the determination, in the face of criticism and repudiation, to celebrate the integrity of the culture of the Jamaican masses,” Ms. Grange added.
The statuette was gifted to the UWI Mona Library by the Ministry. The exhibition and other commemorative events being held throughout September to celebrate the life and significant achievements of Dr. Bennett-Coverley are being organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the JCDC and UWI.
The event also forms part of the yearlong Jamaica 60 Independence celebrations.
Born September 7, 1919, Dr. the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley is a world-renowned Jamaican poet and performer and is widely considered one of the country’s most important purveyors of Jamaican culture. She died July 26, 2006.
For her invaluable contribution to the promotion of Jamaican culture, she was honored with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.); the Norman Manley Award for Excellence in the field of Arts; the Order of Jamaica; the Institute of Jamaica’s Musgrave Silver and Gold Medals for distinguished eminence in the field of Arts and Culture, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the UWI.
In September 1988, her composition, ‘You’re Going Home Now’, won a nomination from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for the Best Original Song in the movie ‘Milk and Honey’.
In 1998, she received an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from York University in Toronto, Canada.
Dr. Bennett-Coverley was appointed a Member of the Order of Merit (OM) for her distinguished contribution to the development of the Arts and Culture by the Government of Jamaica in 2001.