Emancipation Park - Corner of Knutsford Boulevard and Oxford Street, New Kingston, Kingston
Emancipation Park provides a very welcome oasis of greenery and tranquility to the heart of New Kingston. Most visitors come to the park to relax, eat lunch, read a book or chat with friends. However, more active pursuits are also on offer, with a 500m jogging track around the park's perimeter and a permanent stage where concerts and shows are occasionally held. Soothing water features are dotted around the park, one of which can be synchronised to music so that its display can compliment any musical entertainment. There are also a wide range of floral displays, featuring native and imported plants.
The story of emancipation park began when the Liguanea Club donated 7 acres of its 35 acre estate to the government of Jamaica The Government of Jamaica decided that the land should be used as a sports and entertainment complex but had trouble raising the capital required for development. For many years the site remained undeveloped and was commonly referred to as "The Dustbowl" and was used for impromptu football matches and as a site to prepare for carnival. In 2002, the Government sold the land to the National Housing Trust for the notional figure of $1 on the condition that park be built on the site. The NHT's ambitious target was to create a world class public park within three months. The NHT rose to the challenge, employing the services of architect Kamau Kambui and a large team of workers. Emancipation Park was opened on 31 July 2002, to tie-in with the Emancipation Day celebrations of 1 August.
The central theme in the design of Emancipation Park is that of freedom from slavery. This is acknowledged in many ways. The most apparent of these is the controversial "Redemption Song" statue at the entrance to the park, bearing the line 'None but ourselves can free our mind". The statue was commissioned by the Jamaican Government to create something that reflected freedom and emancipation Another is the presence of many water features as water is traditionally viewed as being symbolic of rejuvenation and peace. Finally, the park has a very open design with no fences or hedges to act as internal barriers.Another Important theme in the design of Emancipation Park is the acknowledgement of the African Roots held by the majority of Jamaican people. Several sculptures of "Adinkra Symbols", originating from Ghana are placed around Emancipation Park, including.
- Futumfrafo - a two-headed crocodile.
- Wafa Ada - the seed of the Wafa Tree
- The Eban - a fence