Jamaica – A Sweet Forgetting

Recently Flag Up Scotland Jamaica had the privilege of being invited to the National Portrait Gallery by photographer Stephen McLaren to the preview evening of his latest work, Jamaica – A Sweet Forgetting.  The work is part of a larger exhibition called The Ties That Bind by Document Scotland, a collective of Scottish documentary photographers, of which Stephen is a part.

In Jamaica – A Sweet Forgetting Stephen visited and photographed many sites in Jamaica where Scottish men ran slave based sugar plantations.  Many of the properties now lie abandoned and the surrounding local communities are impoverished.  Stephen then returned to Scotland to photograph the country estates, mansions and investments which the Scottish plantation owners bought with the proceeds from their Jamaican estates.

During the creation of this work Stephen met many people in Jamaica who claimed to be of Scottish descent and many had Scottish surnames which can be traced to the days of the sugar plantations.  The exhibition runs at the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh until the 24th April 2016.  Admission is free.


  1. I just came back from three weeks in Scotland but I had no idea this exhibition was on. I am so sorry that I missed it. The British Empire sucked Jamaica dry and then handed the penniless island over to misleaders who had no clue how to run a country. The consequences of that action are plain to see.


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