BUZz: Jamaican youth awaken to Arts & Culture

Friday, June 4, 2010

In the wake of recent violence in West Kingston, the next generation is energized and vocal. As many youths are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the country’s status quo, it also becomes harder for them to focus on the positive movements happening around them. Thankfully, there are some who still care to make a constructive impact on Jamaica’s future.

One organization called Manifesto|Jamaica has taken up the mantle for a unique approach to national redevelopment. It is getting ready to stage the Festival of ART’ical Empowerment this October and those who already know about it are very excited.

According to Lesley-Ann Welsh, Festival Producer for Manifesto|Jamaica and one of its directors, “The power of the arts and culture to effect change is undeniable. Jamaica is a creative and cultural super power and its time we harness that energy and be the change we wish to see. There are many talented youth in Jamrock and we intend to empower them to pursue their crafts with passion and pride.”

Already, the good news is being spread in places where bad news is likelier. Having aligned with the Three Miles Development Area, they have visited communities in the vicinity with the message of ART’ical Empowerment. On Sunday (Labour Day), with gunshots typically too close for comfort, Manifesto|Jamaica had set up a booth at a community Sports Day at the Tinson Pen Sports Complex. There they painted kids’ faces, displayed visual art by the likes of Kai Watson - whose artistic lineage include father Basil Watson and grandfather Barrington Watson - and even conducted an artistic World Cup 2010 poll. These and other activities were done in an effort to expose the power of arts and culture to the youngsters who already have creative energy within them. To close the day, Manifesto|Jamaica unleashed a presentation of drumming by Kenardo, dancing by the Fantastic Girls and the Untouchable Squad, and singing by Chevaughn from C-Sharp and Bebble Rock’s Kabaka Pyramid and Roxy.

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