Laura Facey is undoubtedly the most talented Jamaican sculptor today, and perhaps of all time — Edna Manley’s fame and reputation notwithstanding. Her infamous Emancipation Park nude statues have been described by many an inappropriate way of commemorating the end of the enslavement of Africans in Jamaica, but nevertheless the monument is a great work of sculptural art and in my opinion deserves a location where it can be admired for that quality, rather than villified as an prime encouragement to the slackness and lewdness that characterizes Jamaican social behaviour today.
Unmoved by the criticism, Laura Facey continues to build on her amazing body of works that first caught my attention with the stylized curves of her ‘Woman’ that stands out in the University of Technology’s Sculpture Garden and may certainly have inspired UTECH student Usain Bolt on his way to and from training.
I was pleased to be among the guests at Laura’s verdant farm outside Ocho Rios, where rolling fields, herds of cattle, sprightly horses and rows of vegetables surround a modestly sized, well-preserved stone and wood great house and provided the setting for her newest exhibition, aptly entitled “Where I Stand”. Inside the beautifully preserved house Laura Facey’s new works were displayed on the mahogany wood floors and the painted wood walls.
Carved from the abundant cedar forests that surround her farm, Laura’s works are massive, delicate carvings from the fragrant wood, some arranged in natural state according to the artist’s inspiration, others functioning as massive slab wood ‘canvases’ for the sculptor’s art. The first impression was one of awe-inspiring size as can be seen from the picture of the piece “Poinsettia”. There were chairs seemingly sliced from the tree trunk that curved around its inlaid seat.
Center of the exhibition was ‘Blue Rose”, a floor arrangement of rippling petals of wood tinged with indigo centers, arranged in a rose formation. Only a picture can describe the beauty and conception of this piece.
The exhibition was well attended by people with pockets big enough to afford the high prices of these unique pieces, but I sincerely hope that at least one piece finds its way into the National Gallery where admirers of Laura Facey’s work can lead their children and grandchildren to be inspired by the excellence of the artist’s immense sculptural creativity.