Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Residents in western Jamaica have been given the opportunity to be better informed about the history and nature of the Rastafari movement, through a historical exhibition mounted at National Museum West, located in the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.
  • Member of Parliament for Central St. James, Lloyd B. Smith, welcomed the exhibition as a special undertaking to pay tribute to Rastafari.
  • First Man at the Rastafari Indigenous Village in St. James also applauded the collaboration of the Government and the Rastafari Millennium Council in bringing about the exhibition.

Residents in western Jamaica have been given the opportunity to be better informed about the history and nature of the Rastafari movement, through a historical exhibition mounted at National Museum West, located in the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.

In keeping with its efforts to foster the development of various aspects of the country’s tourism product, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) played a pivotal role in enabling the Rastafari exhibition to be mounted at the Cultural Centre, where it will be displayed for a year.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition recently, Executive Director of the TEF, Clyde Harrison, described the mounting of the exhibition and the presence of members of the Rastafari community as “a journey with some distance still left to go,” but which stand out as a testament to the spirit of the Jamaican people.

Mr. Harrison cited the strength of the Rastafari culture, “their insistence on being themselves and being accepted for who they are and what they are about.”

Speaking to TEF’s involvement in the exhibition, Mr. Harrison said while the Fund promotes tourism extensively, the fact is that “we promote what is good for Jamaicans and for the tourist to enjoy.”

As examples, he pointed to several TEF projects, including the development of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, restoration of The Dome in Montego Bay and the current installation of LED lights on the Elegant Corridor from Sangster International Airport to Lilliput, St. James.

“We are funding the museum and we will continue to do so. We will not ignore the culture of the people nor what is important to us and when we do this, it speaks to our spirit, so we are very proud to be associated with this endeavour and all the others that we have put forward for the people of Jamaica and the tourists to enjoy,” he said.

Member of Parliament for Central St. James, Lloyd B. Smith, welcomed the exhibition as a special undertaking to pay tribute to Rastafari.

“This exhibition, I am sure, will help to enlighten the general populace about the fact that Rastafari is a bona fide, genuine part of the Jamaican culture and history. It is indeed a very integral part of our national psyche and this has been embodied in the fact that wherever you go in the world, Rastafari can be seen in one form or the other,” he said.

Director of the National Museum Jamaica, Dr. Johnathan Greenland, noted that it was the first major exhibition for Museum West.

He noted that the exhibition ran at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., in the USA, for many years before the Rastafari community negotiated for it to be brought to Jamaica. Its first stop was in Kingston where it was expanded extensively.

Through artefacts, images, videos and text this exhibition seeks to explore the history and nature of Rastafari, including: the Revelation of Rastafari; the philosophy and evolution of the Rastafari movement; the visit of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie to Jamaica; and the impact of Rastafari on music. It also provides a historical review of the tribulations experienced by members, in particular the events surrounding Coral Gardens in April, 1963.

Following a yearlong run in Montego Bay, it will be turned over to the Rastafari community for it to be housed at a permanent learning centre to be established by the ethnic group.

First Man at the Rastafari Indigenous Village in St. James also applauded the collaboration of the Government and the Rastafari Millennium Council in bringing about the exhibition.