In a bid to explore the intricate relationship between the arts and the spaces we call home, Kingston Creative’s ArtWalk Festival returns on Sunday, September 24, with a focus on ‘Design and Architecture’ as the theme.
Sponsored by Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), Main Event Entertainment, F&B Downtown and Catherine’s Peak, the festival promises to immerse attendees in a captivating journey that showcases the fusion of creativity and design innovation.
In keeping with this month’s theme, attendees will begin the day at 10:00 am with a free architectural walking tour, led by architect Patrick Staniger, aimed at highlighting Downtown Kingston’s rich built heritage. The tour will be later followed by artist Kaamal Manboard’s art exhibition and artist talk, titled ‘Architectonic Syncretism’.
Both activities will set the stage for an afternoon architectural exhibition, hosted by the University of Technology’s esteemed Caribbean School of Architecture. This unique showing will use 3-D models and activities to transport guests to the year 2092, presenting dreams for downtown Kingston through a collection of resilient towers and skyscrapers. The selection of works is intended to highlight the potential for Jamaica’s built environment and inspire thought provoking discussions as many of the concepts are inspired by Caribbean art and the socio-political and environmental challenges and opportunities facing Jamaica.
Andre Baugh, BA programme director at the Caribbean School of Architecture, said: “Inspiration for the concept behind the Kingston 2092 project comes from the Norman Vincent Peale quote: ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars’. As Kingston’s ambition, like most nations, is to increase its density through tall buildings, it is important that we build with a focus not only on economics and efficiency, but most importantly, effectiveness for a city within the tropics and for the culture of Jamaica.”
“A dystopian setting of major challenges in the future with a hopeful affluence of Jamaica, allows students an opportunity to dream and project a future without the false constraints of current economics, with the projects being a combination of land and skyscrapers. The year 2092 marks the 400-year anniversary of Jamaica’s earthquake in 1692 and celebrates the importance of resilience to natural disasters.”
While architecture takes centre stage, the entertainment line-up will ensure attendees are in for a day filled with art, design, and music. Percussion maestro Bongo Herman will take the stage ahead of reggae artiste Olivia Wilmot and the band Earth and The Fullness, who will act as the festival’s musical headliner. The day’s activities will be powered by the beats of resident entertainers DJ Fenix and Merritone Disco.
When asked what the city means to musicians and the reason for her decision to perform at Kingston Creative’s ArtWalk Festival, Wilmot shared: “Downtown, Kingston holds a lot of rich Jamaican history and culture to this day. It’s the greatest concentration of the Jamaican population in any one place. As far as being an energy centre, downtown on the Kingston Harbour is right there along with the mountains, the beaches, and the rivers.”
“For decades, there has been talk about reviving Downtown and Kingston Creative is one of the organisations that has been actively participating in that specifically for the arts. Jamaica is a music nation, a creative nation, which is a testament to our spirit and inner wisdom. So, to bring my music to the space as a Jamaican woman creating live reggae music in this time, flowing through genres, and tapping into beyond, is an honour,” said the reggae artiste.
In addition to the architectural exhibition and the performance by Wilmot and the Earth and The Fullness band, attendees can also look forward to guided mural tours of the art district, paint and sip sessions led by muralist Dan Thompson, and poetry and storytelling features courtesy of the Jamaica Poetry Society and Long Story Short storytelling collective, who celebrates its 4th anniversary with a special showcase including storytellers Tamara Morin-Hardin, Daniel Edwards, Kevin Wallen, Datonya McLaren and Andrew “Blaise” Folkes.
Speaking on the idea behind this month’s artWalk theme, Kingston Creative Executive Director Andrea Dempster Chung shared: “Creative placemaking has the incredible power to shape not only our physical surroundings but also our attitudes and behaviour. This month’s theme is therefore a tribute to the designers and architects, artists who work with physical space, and who breathe life into our cities and make them livable, safer, and more resilient in the future. We hope to spark conversations about the dynamic relationship between art and the city, ultimately fostering a deeper appreciation for the heart and soul of Kingston for residents and visitors alike.”