Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Sparkle with a Chupse

Published:Sunday | August 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM
These sleek, artistic earrings are a perfect accessory for an evening out on the town.
Statements of love: Bracelets made from Blue Mountain coffee beans by Chupse at the ArtBeats in Motion showcase.
Chupse jewellery and accessories come in designs and colours to suit various individual's taste.
Rasheda Tennant (left), supervisor at Chupse, tries one of their bracelets on JET assistant language teacher Michelle Ross.
Art therapist Lesli-Ann Belnavis of the Mustard Seed Communities blows a kiss to signify her love for her new charm.
These beautiful bracelets were made by persons with intellectual disabilities.
Charms courtesy of Chupse, an initiative of the Jamaican Association on Intellectual Disabilities, supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency.

't was an evening of awe-inspiring fine art, music, and Japanese cuisine, as ArtBeats in Motion showcased the work of Chupse at the Toyota Jamaica showroom, 93 Old Hope Road, Kingston.

Organised by Osmosis Caribbean, this is the first of many steps towards building Chupse as an example of social enterprise for the region.

Chupse, which is Jamaican Patois for a small kiss, is a brand name of the Jamaican Association for Intellectual Disabilities (JAID), supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The initiative was launched in 2011 as an income-generating activity for adults with intellectual disabilities - primarily Down syndrome and autism. Chupse commenced operations with two adults from JAID and has since moved to eight, who now have a viable means of employment.

Chupse signature is creating jewellery and accessories from Blue Mountain coffee beans, which are donated by UCC Coffee Company.

The ArtBeats in Motion showcase is conceptualised and hosted by Osmosis Caribbean, a Kingston, Jamaica-based online fine arts enterprise which strives to highlight the creativity of the region. The recent staging was the second event hosted by Osmosis Caribbean, which has been boosting Chupse through its outreach activities.

"Art for us is not only a statement, but a vehicle of change and consciousness," says Karen Carter, curator of Osmosis Caribbean. "Our objective is two-pronged - to showcase the work of young Jamaican artists, and build Chupse, which is Osmosis Caribbean's outreach partner, as a social enterprise through fine arts."

JICA's Shinichi Sakai added, "We would like to see Chupse grow into a vibrant enterprise, and we at JICA are empowering them to create opportunities." She continued, "We support initiatives like ArtBeats in Motion, which is an innovative and creative way to highlight Chupse and encourage them to grow."

The ArtBeats in Motion showcase, organised in association with Toyota Jamaica Limited, drew a wide spectrum of guests, ranging from diplomats to corporate Jamaica and art aficionados, transforming the Toyota Jamaica showroom into a vibrant art space, with patrons being served sushi and fine wine.

ArtBeats in Motion has so far highlighted the works of more than 45 young artists. "We strived to bring to the fore the sophistication of techniques and subject matter," notes Carter, adding that Osmosis Caribbean, both online and through ArtBeats, will continue to bring to art lovers such events to converge the various nuances of art.

For Chupse, it was a major boost. "We loved the support, affection and the visibility we got from this showcase," said Rasheda Tennant, supervisor at Chupse. "What we do is a work of love, and we would love to see more and more people recognise the talents of the wonderful people behind Chupse, and support their endeavours."