BY ELTON JOHNSON — Early in 2014 when Kingston’s Graffiti: Art or Vandalism?” was originally penned, the Jamaican art scene, specifically where street art was concerned, severely lacked the sort of deliberate effort required to engender positivity and tap into the possibilities of the medium.

With the exception of few artists — the young Matthew McCarty and his New Jamaica project, and the work of Taj Francis, among few others — Jamaican street art left much to be desired. Then, almost as an answer to the question of Art or Vandalism, the Paint Jamaica project was born.

Artwork by Patasha McLean and Jordanne Brady 2
Artwork by Patasha McLean and Jordanne Brady (L) / Esther Beckford (R)

“Paint Jamaica is the incredible social and art intervention transforming the visual spaces of Kingston’s inner cities through uplifting street art”

— Paint Jamaica Founder, Marianna Farag

This conglomeration of a number of young Jamaican artists uses art to beautify the Kingston cityscape, specifically inner city communities, and inspire its people using the innate transformative power of art.

Artwork by Andrew BruceArtwork by Andrew Bruce (L) and Zohoori Dossa (R)

The group, which also includes the artists Matthew McCarthy and Taj Francis, rose to popularity in the latter part of 2014 and has since been on a steady trend upwards.

Artwork by Kokab Zohoori-DossaArtwork by Zohoori Dossa

 

In addition to completing their major flagship project at 41 Fleet Street, Paint Jamaica recently launched a successful memorabilia project by imprinting select artworks from their collection on clocks, bags, mugs and other items – a simple way of generating wealth from the cultural and creative industries.

Artwork by Esther Beckford 2Artwork by Esther Beckford

 

Their efforts exemplify the very public appeal made in Art or Vandalism? to use art as inspiration and motivation for our Jamaican people, and embodies a refreshing and sorely missed showcase of patriotism and civic pride.

All photographs are copyright, Mark Samuels, and may not be used without permission.

The young artists who are transforming Kingston’s cityscape

Elton Johnson

Elton Johnson works as a Arts Marketer in Jamaica for Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, as well as a Freelance Writer/Photographer and Marketing Communications Consultant.

Category: Arts & Culture
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1 comment

  • The creative industries of the Caribbean and the. Creative talent which abounds are undoubtedly one of our greatest assets. I welcome the dialogue and the showcase of transformation that needs to be known across our Caribbean space as we so often dwell on negative politics rather than the innovative genius of our creativity. Thanks for sharing this information.

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