This work has come from a keen interest in Jamaican beauty, landscape and history. I have had the privilege of making several trips to Jamaica and have visited many parts of the island and met many wonderful people from all walks of life. Coming from New Zealand I have had the typical foreigner’s romantic enchantment with it’s warmth and tropical wonders, and yet this has been tempered with the hardship, chaos, crime and dangers that are ever present. It is a land of extremes, and a land easy to love. A land that looks so wondrous and brochure perfect (in parts) and yet that same land has witnessed some of the most horrendous crimes against humanity.

The location of the source image was deep in the Cockpit Country, (where Usain Bolt grew up) a mixture of wild jungle and farmed fields, and the ever-present sugar cane. The subject is mixed race, a descendant of both slave and slave master, victim and tyrant blended together to create what is now a very fashionable beauty. She stands with a confident model pose, looking directly at the viewer, calmly enjoying the sunshine and the surroundings.

What interested me was the fashion catalogue appeal of the land and the beauty that can come from it while acknowledging the bloodshed that has been before, the flaming blood red in the grasses being a sinister reminder of the bygone horrors. The land and the people of Jamaica have been healed and restored, but not completely.

Julie in Jamaica______2009, oil on canvas, 853 x 603mm, £500.

Julie in Jamaica______2009, oil on canvas, 853 x 603mm, £500.

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