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Two-part mural adds colour and inspiration to Scotiabank spaces

Published:Sunday | November 1, 2020 | 12:07 AM
Mixed-media artist Charl Baker with ‘Ubuntu’.
Mixed-media artist Charl Baker with ‘Ubuntu’.

Zohria Allen, artist and educator, poses in front of the mural she painted.
Zohria Allen, artist and educator, poses in front of the mural she painted.

A two-part mural encapsulating the influence of Jamaica’s African ancestral roots and an inspiring tribute to children is adding a pop of colour and inspiration to the Scotiabank Building Society property located at 95 Harbour Street in downtown Kingston.

Only a few steps away from the bank’s Duke Street headquarters, Scotiabank, a corporate partner of the ‘Paint the City’ project, continues to support the development of downtown Kingston. The street art was commissioned by the Kingston Creative non-governmental organisation in partnership with the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and Sherwin-Williams.

‘Ubuntu’, which was created by local mixed-media artist Charl Baker, was inspired by a Zulu phrase that translates to, “I am ... because we are!”

Baker shared that the mixed-media mural “first and foremost utilises ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’” and reflects the current landscape with COVID-19 that has brought home “the fact that we need each other to survive”.

“I want people to feel pride, joy, peace, love, and to be inspired. I want them to be empowered and to reach for their personal greatness!” Baker said.

On the opposite side is a mural painted by Zohria Allen, who is an artist and educator. Allen’s work is a request for the protection and maintenance of children’s rights and well-being.

“The verdant and flowery foreground serves as a metaphor to represent the blossom and possibilities of growth for the present and the future,” said Allen.

“The primary goal of the ‘Paint the City’ project is to transform downtown Kingston into an inclusive art district and city tourism destination using art, culture, and technology,” said Andrea Dempster-Chung, executive director and co-founder of Kingston Creative.


The Water Lane art walls are being developed as the focal point of the street art experience, and the murals along the lane will feature augmented reality and have a corresponding virtual tour.

“All murals are created through a process of community engagement in which citizens, entrepreneurs, and artists co-create and take co-ownership in the works. This builds long-lasting and reciprocal social engagement,” Dempster-Chung said.

“We are delighted to support the efforts of the Kingston Creative organisation, the many artists and members of the community who were involved. As a member of the business community, we are also on board with the vision of reviving the downtown Kingston area and have invested significantly in the recent renovation of our Scotiabank Centre, which has now been transformed into a modern, customer-centred banking space,” said Scotiabank’s Audrey Tugwell Henry, who recently toured the murals.

She also lauded the ongoing ten-year programme that has been developed to create an art district and creative hub that will ultimately enhance and stimulate growth in the creative economy.

To date, a total of 59 murals have been developed by Kingston Creative, employing local and community-based artists. The murals and digital content reflect on local contexts and the city’s rich cultural history.