Since the unveiling of the latest waterfront attraction in Montego Bay, a statue of a mermaid, several Christians have expressed disgust at what they described as an ungodly act.
They say the artwork is a demonic symbol and an invitation to evoke marine spirits into the area, and the country in general.
As the announcement, which came on the heels of the saga cult pastor Kevin Smith, permeated social media, many condemned it as a recipe for further supernatural disasters.
Referencing both occurrences, one user wrote: “I feel like Jamaica is meddling in something they won’t like the outcome of in many years to come. I’ve noticed that spiritual wickedness is at the highest in this country…”
Some even blamed the statue for the Montego Bay flood tragedy that claimed the life of a 12-year-old a few months after its erection.
However, unbeknown to many, the artist behind the disputed sculpture is a self-professed God-fearing Christian, who, according to him, takes his vows to the Creator seriously.
Dismissing the charges spewed by his fellow brethren, creative environmentalist Robert ‘Toby’ Grant told The Gleaner that he is just a messenger.
“It wasn’t my idea to create a mermaid sculpture, but it was my partner and I (Smilo Zone) who wanted to do the first-ever, environmental underwater sculpture in the world. It was requested by the Montego Bay Marine Park, based on a comic book they have created,” he said.
Grant explained that the book talks about a colony of mermaids, who decided that they will send a few to become humans, so as to shed light on the great level of pollutions being done to the marine life.
According to him, the sculptures interpretation goes beyond what many may believe.
“Many may say the sculpture represents a demonic nature, but to me, it’s a mere representation of using a human form with a marine life, similar to how most people use personification. The mermaid is depicted with her left hand pointing in a downward position, in a gun-like gesture. Her right hand is then bent behind her, with an erected mirror,” he said, adding that this is a depiction of the gun violence that has plagued the city for many years.
He continued, “The gun finger turning down represents seized fire and peace. The mirror represents a level of self-reflection and reconciliation.”
In addition to its symbolic meaning, the sculpture, which was created using crushed glass, sand and cement, will also be submerged within the boundaries of the marine park to protect the coral reefs.
Further to those who have criticized the work, Grant said, “I’m just a messenger. Christ talks about parables, and those are earthly stories with heavenly meanings. Revelation talks about the Lamb of God with the Lion, the seven horns and heads, and people look at it as being demonic. It’s not, it’s just a message.
“It’s called ‘personification’, which tells a story using different elements in human forms and creatures. That’s how they make superheroes, which Christians still go to movies and watch … I’m not worshiping it, it’s simply an art piece telling a message.”