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Clinton Hutton Penetrates Morant Bay Rebellion with Colour for Colour Skin for Skin

Clinton Hutton Takes a Looks into Morant Bay Rebellion with Colour for Colour

Ian Randle Publishers recently launched Clinton Hutton’s Colour for Colour Skin for Skin: Marching With the Ancestral Spirits Into War Oh Morant Bay, an exploration of the Morant Bay Rebellion and the surrounding economic, philosophical and cultural factors that went into it. The event, carried double duty, also being the launch of Hutton’s visual art exhibition of the same name.

The two-fold launch was contextualized by Herbie Miller, Curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, and Professor Rupert Lewis, Professor in Political Thought at the University of the West Indies, Mona. Miller delivered the opening for the art exhibition while Prof Lewis focused his attentions on the book.

Professor Rupert Lewis and Herbie MillerProf Lewis pointed out that the book was a particularly timely one as it coincided with the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion, and the resulting massacre by the colonial government. 

Prof Lewis opening, which amounted to a mini-lecture, painted the backdrop to the Morant Bay rebellion and its bloody aftermath. As with Colour for Colour, Prof Lewis’ delivery contained first-hand accounts of the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children as well as the looting and pillaging by the soldiers which followed.

“Basically, St. Thomas in the East was left desolate,” Prof Lewis said. His words highlighted the connection between the 1965 rebellion and the parish’s current state as one of the poorest in the island.Professor Verene Shepherd

“This is an essential text for understanding British rule in Jamaica,” Prof Lewis said. “It lays a case for the importance of reparative justice,” he said. 

Miller had high praise for the pieces in the exhibition, describing Hutton’s visual interpretation of the Morant Bay Rebellion as “invocating art”. Miller described Hutton’s command of the visual language as “staggering”, “eloquent”, and “engaging the visual senses”. 

Miller pointed out that the art in ‘Colour for Colour’ was simply the other side of the coin that produced the book with which it shares its name. 

“This exhibition can be viewed as a part of Hutton’s grand narrative,” Miller said, explaining that they came from Hutton’s long dedication to researching Paul Bogle and the Morant Bay Rebellion.

Professor Verene Shepherd, head of the Reparations Committee reiterated the value of the work to an understanding of Jamaican history and the current demand for reparative justice. 

“This is a book that should get in the hands of and be read by every literate Jamaican,” she said. 

Professor Hopeton Dunn hosted the launchDuring his response, Dr. Hutton noted that it was critical that contemporary Jamaicans understand their ancestors and tell their stories rather than rendering them silent.

“We need to understand our forebears. If we do not, we cannot understand how they resisted implicitly and explicitly,” Dr. Hutton said. “By 1865, freedom had been won, but the black masses were deliberately chained to poverty.”

In her closing remarks, Christine Randle, Managing Director of Ian Randle Publishers, pointed out Colour for Colour was the most recent addition to a long line of established academics who had published with Ian Randle. She noted that the publishing house was looking toward their 25th anniversary and was proud of their accomplishments.

“We’re telling our stories, our way,” she said.

Colour for Colour was launched at the UWI Regional Headquarters in Kingston on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, at 7:00 pm. The event was hosted by Professor Hopeton Dunn.