Sunday, December 08, 2019

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An American celeb and a Jamaican artist walk into a New Orleans bar… But this is not the beginning of a joke. For renowned Jamaican artist Patrick Waldemar this is how his friendship with actress CCH Pounder (The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, and NCIS: New Orleans) started. Pounder immediately became besotted with Waldemar’s work. She’s an avid collector and supporter of black artists and has even taken a few of his digital drawings to Art Basel Miami which culminates today.

Waldemar’s digital drawings are inspired by New Orleans nightlife which he describes as “supernatural, super-saturated colour, dynamic fluid movement everywhere I turn my head. Rampart Street on the edge of the French Quarter is where free people of colour lived, creole gallants kept their mistresses, and to this day the city’s more free-spirited denizens are to be found. It is a constant source of inspiration for what is becoming my digital version of post-impressionistic work”.

Close to four years ago Waldemar discovered a bar on North Rampart Street and has been digitally drawing there most evenings. “Occupied with their phones, friends and drinks, the bar crowd pays me no attention because I’m also on my phone. This enables me to capture an unposed slice of New Orleans nightlife,” said Waldemar to SO2. He started drawing on his iPhone with his finger and now, at times, uses an iPad mini. For the artist, the digital medium “captures vibrant colours; and the small size of my ‘canvas screen’ forces me to edit hue, shape and line quickly”. It’s a life drawing class on steroids.

“The digital drawings reflect today’s society of eye-popping colour and constant movement.

Printing on archival German deckle-edged engraving paper retains the colour brilliance of the original files. Each one has been individually hand-embellished with further acrylic painting,” he said.

Waldemar will return to The Rock next week to host a show at the Toyota Showroom Gallery at 93 Old Hope Road on Thursday, December 12 at 6:30 pm.


Monday last, the British Fashion Council’s 2019 Fashion Awards took place at the Royal Albert Hall. Those lucky enough to be in attendance got to breathe the same air as superstar Rihanna, who that evening, received the Urban Luxe award for her eponymous Fenty label.

RiRi started the evening wearing a monochromatic mint outfit comprised of a satin mini dress, sheer overcoat and gloves. All Fenty, of course! A few hours later, she went all-black for the Fenty after-party — black leather coat, purse, and matching sheer tights. Again, all Fenty. Speaking with Vogue RiRi maintained that despite being a successful designer, she’s not leaving her music career behind. “Music is, like, speaking in code to the world, where they get it. It’s the weird language that connects me to them. Me the designer, me the woman who creates make-up and lingerie — it all started with music. It was my first pen pal–ship to the world. To cut that off is to cut my communication off. All of these other things flourish on top of that foundation,” said Rihanna.

Speaking of her music, last Tuesday it was announced that Rihanna’s ANTI has spent 200 weeks on the Billboard 200 making her the first black woman to hold this achievement. Two hundred weeks! All Rihanna does is win, win, win!


Sports model and former gymnast Zoya Johnson recently flew from California, where she now lives, to The Rock to visit family and do some work in her capacity as the vice-president of International Relations for the Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association.

Johnson was born in Mocho, Clarendon and migrated to the US at five years old. She started gymnastics at the same gym as her hero US Olympian Dominique Dawes and was invited into an elite development programme by Dawes’ coach, the world-renowned Kelli Hill. Under Hill’s tutelage, Johnson became a nationally ranked athlete. However, chronic injuries would prevent her from pursuing her Olympic dreams but would afford her a fantastic education and a career as a sports model.

On, Saturday, November 30, Johnson spoke at the opening of the Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association National Training Centre on Slipe Road. “In this role, I will help to cultivate a culture and nurture a generation of youth who have a strong sense of community, self and purpose. The goal of our alignment is to establish and sustain Olympic teams that are consistently competitive on the world stage by 2032.”

The National Training Centre is located at the Jamaica School of Gymnastics and is fully furnished with top-notch equipment on which the students can practise. It houses a space for up to 150 students to train in various disciplines, including cheerleading, tumbling and dance. British-born gymnast Danusia Francis, who will represent Jamaica at the Toyko Olympics in 2020, was also at the opening.


Earlier this week music mogul, Asahd’s dad and lover of all things Jamaican DJ Khaled took his #YaadManTuesdays to the next level with fried sprat. SO2 is made of questions! Where did Khaled find sprat in LA? Who taught him (err, his personal chef) to fry them? How did he know that he can eat the whole fish, bones and all? Who gave him their escoveitch recipe? Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen him cook curry chicken, oxtail, and now fried sprat. Only God knows what’s next!

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