During the period 1938 to 1962 there was a concerted effort on the part of middle class Jamaica to move away from the European cultural aesthetic and seek to develop a uniquely Jamaican cultural identity. In various cultural spheres, the African or Black aesthetic emerged from the background. In Art for instance, exhibitions began to feature native artist whose subject and style mirrored a local narrative. Traditional musical forms such as Kumina also began to make their way into mainstream society and influenced popular music such as Mento.
This development took place against a background of antagonistic relations amongst the racial groups. However, much of this occurred in private. Publicly there was an illusion of racial unity that was maintained for the “greater good of the country”.
In the creation of a new nation, the architects of Jamaica’s Independence wisely sought to maintain the perceived outward expression of racial unity. This was the understanding that went into the coining of the Jamaican motto “Out of many, one people”.
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