CARICS is here to stay

Thursday, March 21, 2019

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Encouraged by the response to its inaugural show, Oniel Cunningham, organiser of the CARICS International Fine Arts Festival, promises that the event will become a staple on western Jamaica's arts scene.

It debuted on March 9 at the Old Hospital Park in Montego Bay, with a number of artists, painters and artisans from the region showing their work.

"The event will become an annual fixture as it fills a deficit in the local arts scene and provides the platform to develop and expose local talents, while diversifying offerings in the tourism sector,” Cunningham told the Jamaica Observer. “The event had a good turnout, with a mix of locals and tourists throughout the day.”

Cunningham, an art enthusiast, conceived CARICS almost 20 years ago. A scarcity of exhibitions in Montego Bay influenced him to finally mount the festival this year; he said it was strongly supported by arts and business interests in the resort city.

According to Cunningham, the launch of Janeisha Hill's novel The Power of Love and Forgiveness and Fenton “Blabba” Bennett's Black Women Golden Memoirs were highlights of the show. Hill is from Montego Bay, while Bennett was born in Clarendon but lives in St James.

Some of the painters who work was on show were Jessica Campbell from Montego Bay; Scion Derby, who is originally from Portland but lives in Montego Bay; and Elizabeth Toby, who has Jamaican and Trinidadian roots.

Cunningham noted that, “The international artiste feature exhibit was also a hit, providing patrons with a taste of what is to come in the future with pieces from Britain's Francilla Seaton, Ghana's Kumi Samuels, Australia's Orly Faya, Antigua's D'Kaboo Brann and St Eustatius-based Rohan Simms.”

The CARICS International Fine Arts Festival was supported by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission.

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