Smilozone Waste Management Ltd in partnership with the Montego Bay Marine Park unveiled the first underwater environmental sculpture in Jamaica. This was done at their press conference which was held at the Montego Bay Marine Park on Saturday, October 23, 2021.
This historical sculpture was done in the form of a mermaid and was done by Robert “Toby” Grant who is an environmental sculptor and educator and his brothers Fitz Gerard Grant, building instructor, and Errol Grant, logistics manager helped with the building and logistics of the sculpture. The sculpture is made of 80% crushed glass and cement.
To make this sculpture they first had to make a prototype which took approximately 15 days to complete.
Mr Robert Grant is no stranger to environmental sculptures as his first sculpture is located on King Street, downtown Kingston for the Walk-In museum.
His inspiration for the environmental project came in times of hardship.
“The idea of the environmental art came about while I was at Edna Manley (College of the Visual and Performing Arts) and I was strapped for cash. The only thing that was useful and cheap was garbage. So that’s what I used to push my way through college,” he said
Laur-Ann Daley, operations manager for Smilozone Waste Management Ltd, says the company thought of making a glass sculpture in 2019 and decided to partner with the Marine Park to increase the marine biodiversity by having an underwater which was done on Saturday.
Smilozone is a waste management company which vision is to carry out sustainable
development of Jamaica through repurposing and recycling of (solid) waste.
Having seen the degradation of the coral reefs they thought of new ways to help the environment. As a result, this sculpture is the first of many sculptures that will be part of an underwater sculpture park located at the Marine Park in Montego Bay. This will be the first of its kind in Jamaica. Other sculptures parks can be found in Grenada and Mexico.
She says the park will be formed when the other sculptures are built which will attract fish to the coral reefs.
But the fish is not the only thing that the underwater sculpture park will attract as the park will also feature ‘mermaids’ that will serve as part of the attraction at the park. These ‘mermaids’ are persons who dress in costumes and swim in the marine park. Natasha Parchment-Clarke, director of Training Tree, and a volunteer of the Marine Park says these mermaids have a history in entertainment as they generally do pictorials for children among other things at the Marine Park. These events are intended to pique children’s interest in the sea. The mermaids are available for private parties with the cost depending on the size of the party.
On the other hand, the Marine Park also invests in education through having schools presentations and tours as students become aware of the environment. The marine park also helps students with their school-based assessment(SBA) and provides them with a tour of the marine park at a cost of $1200. However, the Marine Park has stopped because of the lack of face-to-face classes due to the pandemic.
Hugh Shim, Executive director of the Montego Bay Marine Park, describes the coral reefs condition as ‘pretty stable’ and will only get better once the sculpture is placed in the sea.
“One of the reasons we’re having it is not for recreational purposes meaning people can snorkel and swim around. It is supposed to actually attract more fish meaning small ones, that can grow around it. It can also attract coral growth, ” said Mr. Shim.
Dwight Crawford, counsellor for the Spring Garden division represent the Mayor of Montego Bay, His Worship Leroy Williams says he is happy that the marine park was addressing a concern.“
It is well needed, my division is mostly coastal so the initiative has me going. Persons on land have never really been exposed to what happens in the marine space and this initiative will definitely bring attention to what happens on the sea bed. we will start to focus on rebuilding so that the fishes can grow again and our marine life can move along.” he said.
Smilozone Waste Management Ltd will be partnering with the Montego Bay Marine Park to do a beach clean-up in the near future.