JAM | Mar 26, 2023

Dub Poet Oku Onuora headlines Kingston Creative Artwalk

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes
(Photo: Kingston Creative)

The official winner of the World’s Best Creative Destination 2023, the Downtown Kingston Art District, today (March 26), will be the venue for the Kingston Creative Artwalk Festival. 

World Poetry Day was March 21 and so it is only fitting that the theme of the Artwalk Festival is Literature & Storytelling.  All the action will take place in Water Lane amid a backdrop of vibrant street art murals, music, live performances, sound systems and artisan tents filled with unique paintings, jewellery, ceramics, clothing and Jamaican crafts items.

The headliner of this Sunday’s Artwalk Festival is famed poet Oku Onuora, known as “the father of Jamaican dub poetry”. “Oku” means Fire / Light which burns oppression, while “Onuora” means voice of the people. His name, Oku Nagba Ozala Onuora, translates as everlasting fire or light which burns oppression.

Oku Onuora, famed poet; known as “the father of Jamaican dub poetry (Photo: Contributed)

Onuora grew up in Franklin Town, East Kingston and began writing poetry in 1971, moving on to write plays and publish, winning many prizes for his work. Sunday’s lineup also includes poetry by Ngozi Wright, Semone Dewar and Rickayla Swaby, as well as a book reading by author Sharma Taylor, who will be reading from her debut novel “What a Mothers Love Don’t Teach You”. 

This will be followed by a storytelling set by Ntukuma, with Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks performing “How Ananci ends up in a Book” and “Anansi Goes to Court”.  Patrons can enjoy spoken word performance by Chantell Lawes and performances from members of the Poetry Society of Jamaica.

Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks, storyteller, author & college orator

Music is an important part of every Artwalk Festival and visitors to Downtown can enjoy three different Sound Systems playing at venues along Water Lane.  DJ Fenix and 8 Mile Sound will be spinning popular reggae, Hip Hop and R&B tunes at Water Lane & Church Street; there will be classic oldies by Merritone Disco at the Ambassador’s Bar and Grill (between King and Orange Street), and the Red Stripe Music Bus will be bringing the dancehall vibes on Mark Lane and Water Lane near Nadine’s restaurant.  

Complementing the Kingston Creative Artwalk Festival, there are several other artsy events taking place on Sunday in the Downtown Kingston Art District.  Firstly, there will be a one-day exhibition entitled “Harbouring Art”, featuring 8 artists; Charl Baker, Carl Dennis, Ian Gage, Jordan Harrison, Sean Henry, Atira Robinson, Anthony “Taozen Smith and Yanque Yip.  This exhibition takes place at 132 Harbour Street from 12pm – 5pm.

Secondly, the annual “Jamaica Poetry, Music Symposium” takes place at the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) at 10-16 East Street, under the theme “Taking Ownership and Responsibility” from 10am – 5pm. 

Last but not least, it is the closing day for the “Hybridizaton” exhibition by Blaqmango Consultants at CreativSpace, which is a new art gallery located at the corner of Mark Lane and Laws Street. Visitors can experience a display of eighteen pieces by 10 collaborating artists including Donnette Zacca, Kereina Chang Fatt, Katrina Coombs, Stefan Clarke, Carol Campbell, Margaret Stanley, Paula Daley, Laura Lee Joneswho have combined the techniques and approaches of ceramics photography jewellery sculpture and installation art.

Kingston Creative is investing in “People and Place”; developing strong Jamaican creative entrepreneurs and building a vibrant Art District in Downtown Kingston.

Guided Mural Tours will also be offered by Kingston Creative throughout the day from 9am – 3 pm.

The Artwalk Festival takes place every Last Sunday and is sponsored by public, private and third sector partners including the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) a Division of the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport (MCGES), Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation, Red Stripe Flavours, F&B Downtown and the Main Event Entertainment Group.  Secured parking is provided by the KSAMC on Church Street and at the multi-story parking deck on Duke Street and Water Lane.

(contact [email protected] to book or book online at www.kingstoncreative.org/tours ) and for visitors who wish to check out the cool indoor creative spaces, they can visit F&B Downtown’s bistro and go upstairs to see the Kingston Creative Hub at 107 Harbour Street. 


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