Fleet Street’s artistic flavour: Catching up with Kokab
Famed for walls of bold and vibrant colours, Fleet Street has become a frequently visited tourist attraction in the capital, celebrating black beauty, excellence and the richness of Jamaican culture.
Once marred by a history of violence and bloodshed, the corridor was transformed, thanks to a peacekeeping initiative led by Paint Jamaica, a non-governmental entity. Fleet Street continues to provide a canvas, with artist Kokab Zohoori-Doosa once again adding her strokes to the iconic space.
Born in Kingston, the New Zealand-based 23-year-old is among a unique group that can boast to having contributed to the magnificence of what was one of the toughest inner-city lanes downtown. She sat down to discuss the inspiration behind her works of art and the collaboration with Red Stripe's new global campaign that gave birth to beauty.
RETURNING TO JAMAICA
"I had initially worked on two walls along the street in 2014, and then I returned in July 2015 to work on a wall outside of Holy Family Primary School," Kokab shared. "I listened to the concerns of the women and girls in the area and realised that many of them were unhappy with how they looked. The colour of their skin, their hair type, they disliked who they were. I wanted to show them just how beautiful they are and encourage them to embrace their natural beauty," she continued.
When approached by Red Stripe to be a contributor on its global campaign, Stand Up For Your Stripe, Kokab says she liked the essence of the message, so the decision to return home once more in May 2018 was easy. Driven by the campaign's mantra, 'Stand Up', the gifted artist set to work to capture the positive energy that it demanded. Kokab's creativity is featured prominently in the collateral material of the campaign, including the brand's new television commercial.
"We were familiar with the work she has done and were impressed with the artistic messages she has been able to depict," says Nasha-Monique Douglas, Red Stripe's senior brand manager for domestic and international brands.
"It was a natural fit for us to work with her because we knew she would be able to communicate the beauty of our country, the boldness of our people, while representing the uniqueness and synergy of our brand and Jamaica."
With an Iranian mother and West African father hailing from Benin, the young Rastafarian artist has an impeccable understanding of the multicultural experience felt by Jamaicans, and is not one to shy away from opportunities to stand up, especially using her craft.
According to Douglas, Red Stripe admires Kokab's vision to display the beauty of our differences, and her desire to empower young females through her dramatic pieces of art.