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 (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 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 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
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.