In 1992, I traveled to Seville, Spain as Design Coordinator of the Jamaica Pavilion at the Universal Exposition. The Exposition was planned in conjunction with the 500-year celebrations of Columbus' departure from Seville to the New World. Christopher Columbus’ encounter with the New World held particular interest; His voyages commenced the year the Spanish Inquisition that precipitated the expulsion of Jews from Spain. As Columbus set sail from this city that once was home to tens of thousands of Jews, he took with him numerous Jewish young men at the bequest of their families to ensure them safe passage from Spain. My father’s ancestors were amongst them, settling eventually in Jamaica.
Columbus had set sail in search of new territory and gold, but instead returned with spices, specifically cocoa. Soon, sugarcane was to become the gold of my homeland for its colonizers, first, the Spanish, then, shortly thereafter, the British. Coincidentally, I had taken along with me a dozen Jamaican chocolate bars as sustenance for what was originally meant to be a two-week work trip to Seville but ended up lasting four months. The gold wrappers encasing the ‘gold’ of the island - cocoa and sugar - then became the backdrop of these postcard-sized works.
© 2015 Anna Ruth Henriques