The political nature of cultural expression in Jamaica is reflected in the fact that it is the birthplace of a religion whose inspiration is to some extent political. Its messiah is an Ethiopian king in military costume whose divinity is derived from the miraculous act of maintaining his country’s age-old independence from European domination. Rastafarianism has a powerful if anti-monumental architectural language devoted to the issue of respect. Frequently built with cheap materials, this architecture is an arte povere; awkward in plan, utopian in its communality and strange in form it has a visual and poetic strength which renders its target speechless. These informal manifestos, not confined to the Rastafarians of course, contrast sharply with the institutionalised monuments to heroes and independence, most of which suffer a cynical neglect.