Learning my History and Culture through ART

Human can never understand their past without History. History is the only window to our past.
LeShante Tennant

The window to our past is through Arts, whether that art be music, sculpture, paintings, photography etc.
LeShante Tennant

Out of may one people

What is Art? Art is the appreciation of human expression that reflects reality.  Dictionary online defines Art as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination..” for me Art is also the “Memoirs of a Culture”

Throughout human existence art has been created. It has contributed greatly in understanding human’s history and culture, not only that but according to (Cronin) it helps us to “unlock our imagination and stir us to pause, think and reflect.

On a trip to the Jamaica National Gallery, I began to understand why my culture is the way it is more clearer through paintings and sculptures from artists like Edna Manley, Barrington Watson as well as Karl Parboosingh.Cement Company the title of a painting done by Mr. Parboosingh showed how Jamaica looked in the twentieth century and how appreciative I must be of Jamaica now. I was able to see the history, culture and story of the black race as well as Jamaica landscape through the works of Mr. Watson. I also learnt that Mr. Watson has a high respect and regard for women through his nudity collection of paintings. This can be seen through the musical arts of Jamaicans, the female parts are one dominant topic in dancehall music.


Cronin, T. E. On the Importance of the Arts .Retrived March 22, 2012 from http://www.whitman.edu/president/cronin/articles/importance_arts.cfm

Art. Dictinonry. com. Retrived March 22, 2012 from http://www.google.com.jm/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=The+expression+or+application+of+human&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest#hl=en&client=opera&hs=NQZ&rls=en&channel=suggest&q=art&tbs=dfn:1&tbo=u&sa=X&psj=1&ei=j8xrT


I`m not what you`re TOLD or SHOWN

“Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.” ― Margaret Mead

Media is the most powerful force in today’s world shaping the worlds perception of themselves, causing an individual to struggle or better yet change it. The society that we live in is a Patriarchal society with a male dominated media control. This however creates “Stereotyping”

According to Nicholson, females are portrayed as “sex object”. In 1987, there was a protest by Sistren Theatre Collective in Jamaica about a particular ad about a women bottom and legs being advertise with the caption “Your bottom line is beautiful when you make it in Jamaica”. It was said that the promotion was to lured investors to the free Zone (Jamaica) with the idea of women as sex objects.

Nicholson also mentioned that the media also depict in a person`s mind how they should look, the ideal look (slim figures, small breasts, flat stomachs etc ).  He stated that this ideal image is shown through overseas media. We can definitely see this a lot, through music videos, movies or better yet, commercials or billboard ads whenever we travel overseas, pictures like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez butt.

As for our male counterparts, they are always the ones that are praised. Nicholson mentioned that if a wife is abused by her husband it’s her fault, she cheated. He stated that what happens to a female is of no concern, using US gansta rap to justify this statement.

“Lookin through her window, now my body is warm

 She’s naked, and I’m a peepin tom

 Her body’s beautiful, so I’m thinkin rape

 Shouldn’t have had her curtains open, so that’s her fate…..

Then slit her throat, and watched her shake”  (Jordan,  Willie D, 1990)

Although they get praised they too are serotype, for their, Masculinity, aggression and violence etc.

All of this is like “Dangers of a Single Story” only one idea or image is shown


Nicholson, H(2002). Gender as a Dynamic Concept in the Media. Retrived on March 17, 2012 from


Jordan, T. B . Dennis, J. W(1990). Mind of a Lunatic [Geto Boys]. The Geto Boys [CD].     Def American/Warner Bros. Records. (1988-1990) Retrived on March 16, 2012 from




Influence of Jamaican Music ( Reggae)

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.
Jimi Hendrix

Reggae is the heartbeat of Jamaican people.” – John.D.H. Dowing, but in every corner of the world, reggae (Jamaican Music) is being played. It unites us, whether we realize it or not.

Reggae began in the 1960`s as a form of resistance or cry from the youths of inner city communities or better yet “poor people”. It influence peace, anti-poverty struggles, fight against police oppression etc (Dowing).

What a lot of people don’t realize is that “Reggae is a catalyst for social change”. In 1972 Micheal Manley saw the influence and impact of reggae on the Jamaican society. Manley saw it fit to use it in his campaign in order to win the general election against Edward Seaga, in which he won due to his involvement with reggae.

Reggae was also used to bring forth unity. In 1978 at the “one Love Peace” concert both Manley and Seaga Shook hands during the playing of “jamming” (Dowing) to show peace amongst Jamaicans.
Reggae has also been credited for a lot of things. Mainly the wide spread belief of Rastafari around the world. It is also credited for the birth of dancehall.

Did you know that the birth of “Rap & Hip Hop”(Dowing) came from Jamaican music (Dancehall)?

Well! Now you know.


Dowing, J. (2011) Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media


“What we know about how to be who we are” Chris Abani (2008, 3:12) comes from stories produced by the media.

Dangers of a Single story is a speech made by Chimanda Adichie a Nigerian Novelist at TED in 2009. The speech is about how the British and American books create a dominant idea, or image of people or a country.

After listening to the speech, I began to question things that I’ve been questioning but didn’t find a definite answer. I know realize that the “power of a story” a “single story” is much more influential than we can think or even image. I realize that every single human on the face of the earth have “incomplete views” or even the most common thing to do “ Stereotyping” of persons who are not of their nationality without even realizing that we do.

Listening to The danger of a single story, I realize themes from West Indian literature relating to Adichie experience. Themes like “Coming of Age” “search for identity” and “folklore”. She mentioned that because of the “single story” she knew as a child, were the only things she wrote about only (foreigner characters, ginger beer and things she could not identify). She stated that, being in America made her to embrace herself, as well as finding her identity.


TEDTalks. (Producer). (2009, October 7) Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story. Retrieved March 1, 2012 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Ihs241zeg


TEDTalks. (Producer). (2008, December 9) Chris Abani on the stories of Africa [TED video]. Retrieved March 1, 2012 from http://www.ted.com/talks/chris_abani_on_the_stories_of_africa.html