The Washer Woman
Oil on Panel 12 x 12
The Trench Town Rock Experience Summer tour kicks off May 28-June 27, 2017 at Olive on Main, 504 Main St, Laurel, MD, 20707. This series exhibits the lifestyles and faces of Trench Town, Jamaica, Kingston 12.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
May 28-June 25, 2017
Trench Town (also Trenchtown) is a neighborhood located in the parish of St. Andrew which shares municipality with Kingston, the capital and largest city of Jamaica. In the 1960s Trench Town was known as the Hollywood of Jamaica.
Today Trench Town boasts the Trench Town Culture Yard Museum, a visitor friendly National Heritage Site presenting the unique history and contribution of Trench Town to Jamaica. Trench Town is the birthplace of rocksteady and reggae music, as well as the home of reggae and Rastafari ambassador Bob Marley.
During the 1930s, Trench Pen, in southern St. Andrew (neighboring western Kingston), was a growing squatter settlement for the rural to urban migrants. Trench Pen was developed into Trench Town when the colonial government's Central Housing Authority (CHA) initiated a model township project which included owner occupied housing, rental social housing, schools, a theatre (The Ambassador), a park (Vin Lawrence Park), YMCA & YWCA, health clinic and fire station. Approximately 200 acres (81 hectares) of Trench Pen was used to create Trench Town while the remaining land became known as Rose Town, a residential community. Many who came from rural Jamaica to find work settled in the western side of Kingston as there were available "idle" lands and also the area was a desirable location being close to downtown and the market district.
The new residences consisted of one- and two-storey 'knog' buildings, built in clusters or around a central courtyard with communal cooking and bathroom facilities. These residences became the famous Government Yards of Trench Town. Knog construction refers to a labor-intensive traditional method of construction where a timber frame structure is in-filled with brick or rubble then covered with a wire mesh and plastered. The architecture used was that of a rural Caribbean vernacular with hip roofs and wide verandas. Trench Town was a planned community with a hierarchical grid of streets and central sewage and garbage disposal systems.
Trench Town became famous for the talent which emerged from the project. In the 1950s and 60s bread and milk were delivered door to door, each month the CHA would inspect the residences to ensure compliance and tenants paid their twelve shillings per month on time. Trench Town is mainly known for the vast number of musicians it produced. The community has also produced some of Jamaica's top professional, business and political leaders as well as famous sports and religious personalities. This small area contributed widely to global awareness of the impoverished and politically corrupt conditions in Jamaica.