Cooper, Carolyn J.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Literatures in English
Enslaved in stereotypes: Race and representation in post-independence Jamaica
Date of Publication
Author documents and reproduces her contributions to the public debate about the meaning of the (concept of the) public monument ' Redemption Song', in Jamaica, by Laura Facey Cooper, to commemorate the 1838 emancipation of slaves, revealed in 2003, in Emancipation Park. She explains how this monument won the prize, and further gives an account of her reservations regarding the monument, which consists of a naked man and woman, standing, with heads up, and closed eyes. She criticizes several aspects of the prize-winning image. While the debate focused on the author's more trivial remark on the penis size, she explains how this was only an appendix to her essential criticism of the nakedness, as it confirms the colonial stereotype of black people's hyper-sexuality. She also criticizes the absence of lower legs and strange hands, which confirms old racist images of dismembered African bodies. She further indicates that, contrary to common ideas, slaves did wear clothes, and that clothes were, in fact, often important for slaves' identity. In addition, her criticism relates to the passivity of the black figures and lack of grandeur of the monument, and to the undemocratic deciding by a select jury of the winning concept for a monument meant to be public, and paid for by taxpayers. She also discusses artist Facey Cooper's view on the Emancipation as incomplete, and to the often dismissive view of other Jamaicans on the monument.....