Perhaps the most endearing feature at Emancipation Park is Redemption Song, an 11ft. (approximately 3m) high bronze sculpture, situated at the Park’s main entrance at the corner of Knutsford Boulevard and Oxford Road. This prominent sculpture comprises of two naked black male and female statues gazing to the skies – symbolic of their triumphant rise from the horrors of slavery.
At the base of the sculpture is a dome-shaped fountain. Water flows from the centre of this dome, cascading gently and evenly over the curved surface, disappearing into an underground cavern. Visitors can get their toes wet or let the water trickle freely over their hands at the base of the fountain.
“Water is an important part of the monument. It is refreshing, purifying and symbolically washes away the pain and suffering of the past,” said artist Laura Facey, the creator of this brilliant masterpiece. While creating the piece, she said she was inspired by the words of National Hero Marcus Garvey and later Reggae legend Bob Marley “none but ourselves can free our minds”. Laura Facey’s design was selected from an array of sixteen designs, which were entered in a national competition staged by the National Housing Trust in collaboration with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the National Gallery of Jamaica.
It took a month to create a model of the monument and five months to carve the larger-than-life-size figures from dense styrofoam. The foam sculptures were then cut into 69 pieces before being cast in bronze and later rejoined. Though the figures are hollow, the finished male weighs 2000lbs and the female 1300lbs. Over 100 persons including artisans and engineers were involved in the final stages of Redemption Song, which was unveiled in July 2003, in time for the Park’s first anniversary.
Redemption Song truly represents the spirit of freedom. A freedom to Hope, to Excel and to Be.