Photographs from Kingston, Jamaica.
by Rachel Malde
Stirling’s Gallery, January 16 - March 25, 2012
Opening reception Thursday, February 2, 4:00-5:30
Children appear from nowhere, giggling, smiling, and beckoning us to follow through the maze of alleys, broken walls, and tenements they know by heart. They pose for the camera, they gather their friends, they laugh. They offer us popsicles.
Children are everywhere in Riverton and Trenchtown, two neighborhoods in Kingston known for their poverty, gangs, and crime. Trenchtown was the seat of a cultural and political revolution in the 1960s and 70s, as well as home to a young Bob Marley. Riverton is an open landfill, the resting place for refuse, and its many inhabitants recycle the trash in order to make a meager living. It would be easy for the poverty, dirt, and stench of these areas to take over and hold a visitor captive. But it is not possible… the children are more convincing ambassadors for their neighborhoods. They lighten the mood with their pick up soccer games and their hula hoops. They are educated. They are playful. They know that the one truly sustainable commodity is the relationship they have with one another. It is not an easy place to grow up, and I do not pretend to understand what they endure. However, what is obvious is that they move through their days with joy and exuberance and they make it hard to think there is any neighborhood better than theirs.
The photographs in this exhibit were taken in Trenchtown and Riverton, while I accompanied staff and students from the University of the South on an outreach trip in January of 2011. The outreach program has a long connection with these neighborhoods, and as a result, I met community leaders, teachers, and families that I would not have known otherwise. In March of this year, a colleague and I will travel with eleven students from St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School to Kingston on another service trip. I plan to reconnect with some of the children I met a year ago, and I know they will again show us the beauty and joy of their world.
Proceeds from the sales of these photographs will support the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School service trip to Kingston.