Feature
Jamaican Artist, Ms. Laura Facey, CD, standing beside her artwork, called ‘Heart of a Man’, which is now on display at the National Gallery of Jamaica in downtown Kingston.
Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson

Story Highlights

  • At the National Gallery of Jamaica in downtown Kingston, there are ‘hearts’ on the floor.
  • Hearts, which not only represent the broken, downtrodden and oppressed persons who played a role in the fight for Jamaica to gain Emancipation and Independence, but also those persons who are still facing challenges today.
  • This master piece, called the ‘Heart of a Man’, was done by Jamaican Artist, Ms. Laura Facey, CD, as her contribution to the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Summer Exhibition and Jamaica’s 57th year of celebrating both Emancipation and Independence.

At the National Gallery of Jamaica in downtown Kingston, there are ‘hearts’ on the floor.

Hearts, which not only represent the broken, downtrodden and oppressed persons who played a role in the fight for Jamaica to gain Emancipation and Independence, but also those persons who are still facing challenges today.

This master piece, called the ‘Heart of a Man’, was done by Jamaican Artist, Ms. Laura Facey, CD, as her contribution to the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Summer Exhibition and Jamaica’s 57th year of celebrating both Emancipation and Independence.

Ms. Facey is also the sculptor behind the creation of the popular Redemption Song monument, which stands at Emancipation Park. That is her bronze monument which was created in recognition of the 165th anniversary of the emancipation of slavery in 2003.

She told JIS News that she decided to make the contribution this year, because it not only reflects on the role men played on the journey to Jamaica’s emancipation in 1962, but also to bring attention to the nation’s youth who are in need of assistance, and to inform them that there are ways in which they can be helped.

“I wanted to bring some attention back to man. I think our young men [in Jamaica] are scattered. They don’t have family, homes [and] they’re lost in a way, and this piece is about what happened in their very long past. During slavery, they [men] were separated from their families, and a man’s main purpose in life is [to offer] protection – protection for his family,” she said.

“When he’s forced to not being able to protect them, that’s the ripping of the heart, and that’s what it’s symbolic of,” she added.

Jamaican Artist, Ms. Laura Facey, CD (second left), explains the reason behind the creation of the ‘Heart of a Man’ to (from left) Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange; First Lady of Kenya, Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, and Chief Curator, National Gallery of Jamaica, Mr. O’Neil Lawrence, on Independence Day (August 6), at the National Gallery of Jamaica in downtown Kingston.

 

Ms. Facey told JIS News that for the artwork, she chose to put numerous hearts on the floor of the gallery and some in a boat, along with a man hanging, because it symbolises the connection that our young men who need help in today’s society have with those young men during slavery.

“It [the man hanging] was inspired by a drawing done by William Blake, of a black man hung by the ribs. That’s what they did in slavery,” she said.

This artwork took six months to be created. She started it in January, and it was eight young men – the very same audience and demographic she is trying to reach – who carved the hearts for her.

Ms. Facey said it is important for Jamaicans to reflect on the past during the Emancipation Day and Independence Day celebrations, whether or not with artwork, because the contributions from our past ancestors have brought the nation to what it is today.

“I do believe that if you do not revisit the past, and expunge or get rid of what’s holding you back or become aware of it, then you can’t move forward into forgiveness,” she said.

During the tour of the National Gallery on Independence Day (August 6), the First Lady of Kenya, Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, was fascinated by Ms. Facey’s work, so much so, that she and her team took time out to hear Ms. Facey’s reasoning behind its creation.