Making Jamaica: Photography from the 1890s

“More exhibitions like this are needed!” This was the general consensus by myself and fellow museum peers Shereen and Donata when attending the opening of Making Jamaica at Autograph ABP. Making Jamaica delves into how a new representation of Jamaica was created through 19th Century photography.

Inspired by the success of The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, AC Sinclair created the Jamaican Great Exhibition in 1891. The idea was then developed by Sir Henry Blake who saw it as an opportunity to promote the island as a modern British colony fit for foreign investment and tourism. The landscape photographs exhibited in Making Jamaica by Valentine & Sons started the trend of the capturing the Caribbean island as an exotic and romanticised haven.

Making Jamaica was not only important in that it was a display of more than 70 historical photographs of the island as a industrious and tourist destination. The exhibition became a safe space where conversations related to politics, life, culture and racism could take place openly. Something which is needed in today’s society now more than ever.

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