A splash of art and crafts for Christmas in Kingston, Jamaica

It’s that time of year again, with the softening of the sun’s harsh rays and the shortening of our days. The light changes somehow, and the weather has calmed. So, it’s feeling a little like Christmas!

In Kingston, however, the traffic has not calmed at all, and the season’s activities have stepped up. These include a flurry of art and crafts – a flowering of creativity on sale, with “something for everyone,” as they say.

I picked out just a few that might interest you if you are in the city this weekend.

Kingston Creative is back (it never really went away) – but now back to its regular Art Walk, with a vibrant programme of events downtown on Sunday, November 27. The emphasis is “live,” with performing arts as well as food, art and craft booths; and the opportunity to admire the murals on Water Lane and elsewhere, which are an ongoing joyous, brilliant work in progress. The last time we attended this monthly event was at the end of February 2020 – just before COVID-19 arrived on the island. Those are happy memories.

There is one part of the day’s agenda that shouldn’t be missed: a special event at the Institute of Jamaica on East Street and the culmination of a project led by ornithologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at New York University, Dr. Leo Douglas. Leo is also a past President of BirdsCaribbean and a Musgrave medallist. It’s the connection between nature and people that moves him; hence this Jamaica 60 project, which opens on Sunday, “Reimagining Nanny.” There will be a fascinating and beautiful “reveal” of the winner of this re-imagination of a mystical figure in Jamaican history and indeed legend. If you cannot attend in person, the opening will be streamed live on the Institute’s YouTube channel.

On Sunday evening, there is another exhibition opening – a more intimate event, with fine artist, woodcrafter, and art educator Mortimer McPherson. Art, wine, music, and poetry will be part of the evening. You need to RSVP for location and directions.

Oh, but there’s more. The health and wellness group Ujima will have Sunday markets with vendors selling local organic produce, craft, fashion, and jewellery. And more poetry and drumming, at Hope Gardens.

Last but by no means least, you could drop by the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters for a superb exhibition by noted Jamaican ceramicist Norma Rodney Harrack. But hurry! Tomorrow (Saturday, November 26) is the last day!

It’s not about the art, or even the sales. It’s about the people – our wonderfully irrepressible, creative Jamaican people. The vitality and the energy is contagious. All these amazing artists and entrepreneurs deserve our support. You wait and see.

Textile artist Margaret Stanley with some of her favourite pieces from Norma Harrack’s exhibition at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters. (Photo: Facebook)

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