Portland’s rich history captured in masterpiece
Tasked with the responsibility of creating a mural depicting the rich cultural and historical heritage of Portland, Mark Bell and six of his colleague artists set about creating a masterpiece in Port Antonio, Portland. And if the accolades they have been receiving are anything to go by, they have not disappointed.
"Even if you drop from out of the sky, once you pass this wall, the images will tell you stories about this parish. It tells about the roast breadfruit, rafting on the Rio Grande, Nanny of the Maroons, the blue marlin, waterfall, green banana, the Blue Mountain ridge, a jerk pan, and also various types of food," Bell said.
The lively painting was commissioned by Ann-Marie Vaz, the member of parliament for East Portland. Oniel Lewis, Winston Hill, Clive Passley, Zacca Harriland, Steve Cunningham, and Christophe Hamilton assisted Bell in bringing the vision to life. It is in close proximity with the CC Bakery, and is adjacent from the old railway station, which has a rich history. Additionally the old marina building, which houses the annual Sir Henry Morgan Blue Marlin Tournament, is less than a hundred metres away.
"I was handed an image to be used as a guideline as to what was to be painted on the wall, but after discussions with my colleagues, we took the decision to make some changes. We had to make it more Portland-friendly and, therefore, we had to remove certain images and make changes that clearly show the history of Portland," Bell said.
The artiste said that since the painting was completed it has been focal point in Port Antonio, as people driving by are stopping to take pictures. He said that some people have even gone up to the image of Nanny of the Maroons and kissed it.
Vaz said that she is impressed with the mural. "This is one way of telling our stories to the world. I am hoping that such history included in a painting can be replicated in every parish across Jamaica," she said.