Connections key to KOTE 2016
The ninth Kingston on the Edge (KOTE) urban arts festival begins tonight at Redbones Blues Café, New Kingston, and there will be 26 events over the 10 days until Sunday, June 26, with over 200 artists (over 20 of them from outside Jamaica) participating. Complementing those figures is that about 95 per cent of the events on the schedule are free.
However, it is not only the numbers that KOTE co-founder and organiser Enola Williams focuses on, but the events' inherent linkages as well as the bonds among participants. The overarching theme of KOTE 2016 is Connections, and Williams says suggestions were made to prospective participants (including diversity and the relationship between Jamaica and its neighbours) when the call for submissions was made.
Creating bonds is not new to KOTE, as Williams said "every year we have a different theme, and we try to bring people together and connect them". Still, with this year's concentration the interconnectivity is especially striking.
There are events where countries and artists combine. Great Antilleans on Tuesday, June 21, at shop 27, 30 Red Hills Road, brings together the work of Milton George, David Boxer (Jamaica), Manuel Mendive, Jose Bedia (Cuba), Eduard Duval-Carne and Prospere Pierre-Louis (Haiti). A connection with the history of one of the people who came to Jamaica will be made at the Kuan-Kung Temple visit at 129 Barry Street, Kingston, which dates back to 1897.
Some connections use media and live performance, such as a screening of the movie Sankofa (with poet and broadcaster Mutabaruka one of the actors) at Redbones on Saturday, June 25, followed by a question-and-answer session. There will be live drumming and poetry by Ann Margaret Lim and Fabian Thomas & Tribe Sankofa, along with work by artists Ras Waldo and Jasazii.
Living Culture at Trench Town Culture Yard at 1 p.m. tomorrow features studio artists from the community with their work on display, including Oswald 'Stone Man' Comrie, Garfield Williams, Pa Glen and Maria Fitzgerald. LivinKulcha Band and Musicians Without Borders will play, Williams saying members of the latter are persons from Germany who live in the community and teach youngsters music.
Earlier in the day at Liberty Hall, 76 King Street, the movie Haiti & The Dominican Republic: An Island Divided will be screened at 11 a.m.
And on Father's Day, Sunday, June 19, there is not only the connection between fathers and their offspring, but also nature. Williams said at that event, Up Front & Natural, starting at 12:30 p.m., "you will be able to go in and see the animals, have a free yoga class". Painting is also on the cards, and Williams advises that a blanket be a part of the equipment. Live acoustic music will be provided by Charmaine Lemonius and Luis Felipe Bellorin.
These, among a slew of other events, help create and foster linkages.
"What is great about what we are doing with the festival is we have a mix of professionals, non-professionals and students." There is connectivity in the creativity, Williams said. The diverse venues, from the harbour to the hills, also show people that they are part of the society.
There is a connection between KOTE 2016 and an artist whose creation is an indelible part of the festival. The logo was designed by Davon Easy.