Merging art and nature, the Paint Jamaica project started in July 2014 when a group of Jamaican artists and a French traveler got together and decided to bring art into the streets of Kingston in unexpected ways and in unexpected places.
Along with creative expression, Paint Jamaica’s vision is to revolutionize the relationship between art, talent and society, with a social cause to change the negative stigma around Kingston’s inner cities.
The team embarked on a ten day project of beautifying the walls of a gigantic abandoned warehouse at 41 Fleet Street in Parade Gardens – an inner city that few Kingstonians had been to, yet even heard of.
Check out the beautiful walls of 41 Fleet Street by Paint Jamaica.
For over a month, prior to bringing brush – to – wall, the Paint Jamaica team had been connecting with the residents of Parade Gardens to understand their aspirations.
This feedback translated into dazzling murals with positive and uplifting messages designed by talented artists such as Taj Francis, Matthew McCarthy, Djet Layne and Kokab Zohoori-Dossa.
“We did not want to come in and impose a vision” explains Marianna Farag, founder and project manager of Paint Jamaica.
“This is their community, and after we leave, these walls belong to them… so the community has to drive our creative vision” she added.
Some of the popular themes that came up were unity, education, peace and boosting self-esteem.
With over twenty walls to paint, Paint Jamaica launched a social media campaign with an open call for artists to be a part of the adventure – as long as they were willing to paint murals with an uplifting and positive message.
Talented individuals rolled in from all over Kingston – and surpassed the original number of artists that were required.
Paint Jamaica thus grew and evolved into a movement of democratic art and as a true community project, engaging volunteers of all backgrounds and the residents of Parade Gardens. Hand in hand, they transformed an abandoned space into a new landmark that is day after day, capturing the attention of thousands of Jamaicans, the local media and more recently favourite local artistes such as Tessanne Chin, Janine “Jah9” Cunningham and Kelissa who spontaneously came to pay a visit at 41 Fleet Street and the neighbouring Life Yard collective, where an exciting new concept came to fruition.
Paint Jamaica thus grew and evolved into a movement of democratic art and as a true community project, engaging volunteers of all backgrounds and the residents of Parade Gardens. Hand in hand, they transformed an abandoned space into a new street art landmark: 41 Fleet Street.
A high level of excitement has been generated namely because the initiative is a first of its kind in Jamaica.
Via social media, Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans alike are following the movement. Paint Jamaica has received support from the iconic music label Tuff Gong Worldwide and Ziggy Marley himself and has captured the attention of notable individuals such as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the legendary UK based Reggae DJ, David Rodigan.
The impact has been extremely positive on the local community: with their involvement, new skills are being transferred and individuals have been inspired to creatively express themselves. Furthermore, the mere act of changing the visual landscape helps reduce crime and littering.
Pain Jamaica has collaborated with Plant Jamaica, an organization transforming Downtown Inner Cities through agriculture, arts, education & entrepreneurship.
Similarly to Paint Jamaica, Plant called out to volunteers and expert farmers who came in and merged with the earth to beautify the inner city through nature.
Both inituitives has been getting support from local heads such as
Paint Jamaica released a press for their next big project!
Together, both initiatives have plans to carry the movement across Jamaica, with a next project planned for October 2014.
Remaining in the Parade Gardens area, both Farag and Bruce [Plant Jmaica] will combine their respective projects with a focus on education – a subject that is of critical importance in the neighborhood.
They will be introducing street art and plants in a unique way at a school, working alongside the students and teachers… and as per the previous initiative, the work will start ahead of time by connecting with the community by listening and understanding to their needs.
The focus will remain to inspire people to embellish and transform their visual surroundings through art and nature… in unexpected ways and unexpected places.
Seeing the positive impact this first project was able to deliver, we are now moving onto our second initiative which promises to be just as exciting and uplifting as the first.
But we need YOUR HELP TO MAKE THIS A REALITY.
Follow the Paint Jamaica initiative and keep up-to-date with their future projects!