When hurricanes Irma and Maria impacted the US Virgin Islands in 2017, tourism – the lifeblood of this island economy – took a hit. But from adversity comes strength, and woven into the recovery programme was a new effort to create lasting cultural and historically important public artworks that would seek to draw this close-knit community back together.
So began a five-year effort at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande St Thomas to rebuild not only the damage caused at the property and surroundings, but also a strong sense of community pride, largely through a public art installation in the marina championed by local artists.
Unveiled at the Caribbean Charter Yacht Show last December, the heart and soul of this is The Mocko Jumbie Jamboree by the Sea Sculpture Project, created and curated by celebrated local sculptor Edney Freeman. The fact that Edney – whose work is exhibited as far afield as Puerto Rico, North Carolina and Upstate New York – was in the middle of renewing his wedding vows to his wife Hariyah when the commission came up only adds to the drama and magic of this initiative!