One of the displays in our recently concluded exhibition on the Legacy of AD Scott, referred to the unfinished business of Jamaica’s National Monument – a soaring sculpture representing the varied aspects of the Jamaican people. Scott commissioned the piece from legendary Jamaican sculptor Alvin Marriott shortly after the country’s 1962, when he was chairman of the National Monuments Committee.
Up to 2014, the monument is still unfinished and unmounted, though the eight foot high, 15 foot diameter base waits in the Harbour View roundabout, near Kingston’s international airport. Only the nude couple which is to top six tiers of striving humanity, sits diminished on the base.
The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), which took up the project some years ago, has brought all the pieces together in one storage location. However the 47 pieces of the sculpture must still be cast, in aluminium, and then fitted together into its final conical shape, with the couple placed on top – the sculpture itself soaring some 40 feet. TPDCo could not give a timeline for this completion.
When the monument was anounced, amid a mix of responses in 1963, Gleaner art columnist Ignacy Eker described it as rising from a circular base “in waves of figures representing the various racial types that constitute out population. These figures, recumbent directly above the base, will become progressively animated suggesting a spiritual awakening and carrying the upward surge to the crest of the monument.. There, atop this straining pyramid of people, two figures, that of a man and a woman will give substance to a vision of youthful love, unabashedly romantic and tender, emblematic of the oneness of our nation…” Photos of the work are courtesy of Mrs Jean Scott, widow of AD Scott.