by Laura Hutson
As part of Fisk's Spring Arts Festival, Sewanee professor and Zeitgeist Gallery artist Greg Pond will be showing his documentary film Born in Trench Town at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 8. The screening will be followed by a discussion between Pond and the audience.
This will be the Tennessee premiere of the feature-length documentary. The U.S. premiere occurred at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles in January. The documentary was also screened recently in Austin, Texas and at the Veterans of the Civil Rights conference at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.
Also of note: In May, Pond will be exhibiting work in Zeitgeist's new space at 516 Hagan St., near the Chestnut Square building and Fort Houston.
Read about the story's background and watch clips from the documentary after the jump.
Trench Town’s original government yards were constructed during the waning years of English rule for the first waves of poor rural Jamaicans migrating under a modernizing economy. Two cousins founded it, employing architects to create housing schemes modeled after communal rural dwellings, small living quarters with shared courtyards that fostered much of the music and culture for which Jamaica is known worldwide. Trench Town was a model for lower income housing with utopian aspirations for the nascent nation. These cousins also established the opposing principal political parties following independence in 1962. Thereafter housing in and around Trench Town was designed to accommodate increasing numbers of supporters of whichever party controlled the government. The political shifts of the nation are mapped in the buildings. Neighborhoods became divided along partisan lines. The first gunshots between Jamaica’s political rivals were fired in Trench Town in 1976. The violence persists today through an established system of gangs and power structures that connect the most impoverished neighborhoods in the capital with the highest levels of government.