Sat | Sep 18, 2021

J’can Arts Odyssey to celebrate healing powers of art in Portland

Published:Friday | June 28, 2019 | 12:26 AMPaul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer
A model participating in Jamaican Arts Odyssey last year at Great Huts Resorts at Boston Bay in Portland.
A model participating in Jamaican Arts Odyssey last year at Great Huts Resorts at Boston Bay in Portland.

On Saturday, July 6, and Sunday, July 7, Great Huts Resort and Bayview Eco-Resort, both in Portland, will collaborate to celebrate the healing powers of art during the ninth annual Jamaican Arts Odyssey when the work of Jamaican, British and United States artists and artisans will be showcased in a series of workshops and demonstrations.

Created by owner and designer of Great Huts, Dr Paul Rhodes, Jamaican Arts Odyssey “is an immersive and personalised art event which has now become an anticipated Portland event that offers unique programming to highlight art and creativity in all forms... . Patrons seeking a unique arts experience will have a chance to meet, learn and engage with the artists while painting, drawing, stretching, listening and enjoying authentic African music and cuisine and more,” said Vivene R. Levison, managing partner and director of marketing at Great Huts.

The essence of the activities this year is set on the belief that art heals; it has the power to transform a person’s perspective, mentality, emotions, ill health, etc. And in order to find themselves, some people delve deeply into their creativity and artistry. Thus, Levison is encouraging members of the public to join the Odyssey.

She said, “It has been documented in scientific study that art heals by changing a person’s physiology and attitude. The body’s physiology remarkably alters from stress to deep relaxation and also from fear to creativity and inspiration. When the body is engaged in creative processes, every cell in the body is instantly affected. The result has been stated to create a healing physiology and changing of perceptions and attitudes.”

The Odyssey starts Saturday morning with healing with Yoga Warrior at Great House Beach, when participants will tone up with ‘power yoga’, “firm up with a coffee scrub”, and re-energise with essential oils. Late-morning healing with drawing and jewellery making will take place on the Yoga Deck with teas, in addition to demonstrations and a discussion with Portland’s own and one of Jamaica’s finest master portraitists and fine artists, Phillip ‘Ambokele’ Henry.

‘The Healing Power of the Self – Strategy of Words’ will start the late-afternoon/early-evening session, when internationally recognised spoken-word artiste, teacher and radio personality Lemuel ‘Life’ LaRoche will take participants through a presentation on empowerment and positive expressions through the game of chess.

Music and food in African culture, too, have the power to heal, and that is what visiting culinary artist, executive chef of Café Africa and president of the UNIA Jamaica, Steven Golding, will present on with Richard Derby and the Manchioneal Cultural Group. Saturday ends with a cultural show in the night and a discussion.

On Sunday, July 7, the day dawns with detoxing with Yoga Warrior in the Meditation Gully near Africana House. Discussions will be on ‘Learning a Daily Ayurveda Regimen for Healthy Living from Within’, ‘Own your Mind and Empower Yourself’, and ‘Increasing Flexibility with Yin Yoga and Neuromuscular Stretching’. Yoga Warrior will also serve up some healing superfood smoothies in the master kitchen of Africana House.

Participating in and learning the art of mural painting will unfold with Portland’s Lisa Hendricks in ‘The Healing Powers of Murals’. She will host the ‘Sankofa’ Mural Making Workshop on the Great Huts Yoga Deck “to bring forward from what was lost or forgotten”. The completed mural will permanently hang at the Boston Beach Children’s Cultural Centre in Portland.

The Odyssey comes to a stop from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday with ‘Big Tings a Gwaan Down di Street’, when United Kingdom mural specialist Tracey Thorne talks about the healing benefits of murals in the Great Room inside Africana House. Thorne will discuss the power of painted walls for communities and in transforming the environment. She will discuss her exhibition from her journey across five Jamaican parishes. There will be a focus on hand-painted advertising signs, street art and graffiti.