S Ho­tel Ja­maica em­brac­ing and pro­mot­ing the arts

Jamaica Gleaner - - HOSPITALIT­Y JAMAICA - PAUL H. Wil­liams Hos­pi­tal­ity Ja­maica Writer

JA­MAICA IS a land where many he­roes and leg­ends were born and bred, and in homage to them many mon­u­ments, some in the form of stat­ues, were erected. From Mo­rant Bay in the east to Mon­tego Bay in the west, these struc­tures are telling part of the story of who we are, and where we, (out of many, one peo­ple) are com­ing from. The Mon­tego Bay Leg­ends Cir­cle is one of the places to go see some of these stat­ues. Si­t­u­ated on the lawns of St James Place Shop­ping Plaza, lo­cated along Jimmy Cliff Boule­vard, part of the friendly city’s Hip Strip, these stat­ues are some­what dif­fer­ent from oth­ers else­where. They are made of the re­cy­cled ma­te­rial pro­duced by Scheed Cole, CEO of 360 Re­cy­cle Man­u­fac­tur­ing. There, are the life-like impression­s of na­tional he­roes Sa­muel Sharpe and Mar­cus Gar­vey, Na­tional Hero­ine Nanny of the Ma­roons, and mu­sic leg­ends Bob Mar­ley and Jimmy Cliff. In ad­di­tion to those stat­ues, there is a mon­u­ment in hon­our of the Reg­gae Girlz and a statue of track and field legend Usain Bolt made of screws and bolts, and metal plates. Apart from the he­roes and leg­ends, there are two croc­o­diles and two lions made of the 360 re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als. The pro­ject is the brain­child of Christo­pher Issa, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) of S Ho­tel. The Mon­tego Bay ho­tel is lo­cated be­side the plaza, and the Leg­ends Cir­cle is si­t­u­ated in front of the shops on the plaza owned by the prop­erty. Apart from the mon­u­ments, the S Ho­tel has been show­cas­ing Ja­maican art in its var­ied forms. There are many pieces in its lobby

whose walls are mainly cov­ered by “sim­u­lated key­stones” made of ce­ment, and it is cur­rently cu­rat­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled ‘Heart and Soul’, de­pict­ing “dif­fer­ent walks of Ja­maican life ” on the walls of all the cor­ri­dors.

Some of the fix­tures and fur­ni­ture in the lobby were made by Ta­mara Hard­ing from a guango tree that was felled on a prop­erty, across the road from the ho­tel, that is be­ing up­graded to sit­u­ate a con­fer­ence cen­tre. There is also a print of Michael ‘art war­rior’ Thomp­son’s work in all of the rooms.

“As a Ja­maican ho­tel com­pany, we wanted to show­case the best of Ja­maica and the things that we think make us dif­fer­ent, one of them is our cul­ture … If we know the ways we can make it tan­gi­ble, we are gonna use it more as we sell Ja­maica … It is our cul­ture which comes from many years and many dif­fer­ent in­flu­ences,” Issa said.

The con­cept for the cir­cle came when S Ho­tel, which holds the fran­chise of Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records, lo­cated in the plaza, ac quired the metal statue of Bolt done by Ger­man sculp­tor Diedel Klo­ever in 2012. Klo­ever, who is mar­ried to a Ja­maican woman from St Mary, was in­flu­enced by the Olympian’s ex­ploits at the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships.

The trib­ute to the Reg­gae Girlz was ex­pected to be mounted in a ‘Ja­maica Pavil­ion’ dur­ing

the 2019 Women World Cup in France. That pavil­ion did not ma­te­ri­alise and S Ho­tel ac­quired the piece. When the idea of putting more pieces in the space was con­ceived, a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Bob Mar­ley also popped up. The chain got per­mis­sion from Mar­ley’s fam­ily with the prom­ise that it rep­re­sents Mar­ley’s real-life height. To get it right, they con­tacted Cole whom they knew of from a pro­ject in Ne­gril and an ar­ti­cle in The Gleaner.

Na­tional Hero Mar­cus Gar­vey and Na­tional Hero­ine Nanny of the Ma­roons fol­lowed Mar­ley. Jimmy Cliff, a son of St James, also gave per­mis­sion for his like­ness to be mounted. When Na­tional Hero Sam Sharpe was sug­gested to join the pan­theon, that he was al­ready mounted in Sam Sharpe Square was the re­sponse. The fact that the stat­ues in the cir­cle were dif­fer­ent from the ones in Sam Sharpe Square was another re­tort, and S Ho­tel ac­qui­esced. It turned out that Sharpe’s like­ness is Issa’s favourite be­cause “it brings Sam Sharpe to life”, while he said that of Gar­vey is the “best ren­di­tion” he had ever seen of Ja­maica’s first na­tional hero. Through the Mon­tego Bay Leg­ends Cir­cle, it is the in­ten­tion of Issa “to in­spire and to spread the word about our cul­ture and the Ja­maicans that went be­fore us,” he said.

Some of the fur­ni­ture and fix­tures in the lobby of S Ho­tel Mon­tego Bay are made of a guango tree that was grown in the area.

A ren­di­tion of Na­tional Hero­ine Nanny of the Ma­roons is made of re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als.

This Scheed Cole ren­di­tion of reg­gae legend Bob Markey is made of re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als.

One of the prints cur­rently on show in an ex­hi­bi­tion, ti­tled ‘Heart and Soul,’ in­side S Ho­tel in Mon­tego Bay.

Na­tional Hero Sa­muel Sharpe.

PHO­TOS BY PAUL WIL­LIAMS

The Mon­tego Bay Leg­ends Cir­cle.

This Scheed Cole ren­di­tion of Na­tional Hero Mar­cus Gar­vey is also made of re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als.

This statue of track and field legend Usain Bolt, made of screws, bolts and metal plates by Ger­man sculp­tor Diedel Klo­ever in 2012, was the first to be mounted in the Mon­tego Bay Leg­ends Cir­cle.

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