A live mural painting brought excitement and color to a usually dull space on the Dame Mary Eugenia Charles Boulevard (Bayfront) on Tuesday 10 July 2018.
The mural was painted by eleven members of the Waitukubuli Art Association; Lowell OMtNI Royer, Aaron Hamilton, Shadrach Burton, Keard George, Oltert Faubert, Nerrisia Lawrence, Anthea Robinson, Sarama Role, Yaena Eugene, Hilroy Fingol and Chase Lawrence.
It is located on the southern side of the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth’s entrance as part of efforts to attract visitors who arrived on the Carnival Fascination.
Carnival Cruise Line returned to Dominica on Tuesday after an eight year absence and this live mural painting was among initiatives taken by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to ensure that the visitor experience here is enhanced.
President of the Waitukubuli Art Association, Lowell Royer told Vibes Radio on Wednesday 11 July 2018 that this was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Careen Prevost’s idea.
“She saw that there was a container that couldn’t really be moved easily and she wanted to kind of hide it, or beautify it for the tourists,” he informed.
“She had this idea that she would get the Association to create some art work on the container after they barred it off with some plywood and it would serve as some sort of entertainment for the tourists and give them something different,” Royer added.
This, he noted, is part of Ms. Prevost’s mission to improve tourism and culture by supporting the art movement that the Waitukubuli Artistes has started.
Permanent Secretary Prevost gave the association free reign to decide the mural design as part of this beautification project.
Although the Association is currently preparing to stage an exhibition dubbed ‘Whoosh!’ at the Windsor Park Stadium in Roseau on 27 July 2018 from 5PM, Royer said they welcomed the idea to partner with Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
“In the time space it was difficult for the Association to agree on one set design and everybody is busy working towards the exhibition we have coming up, so they didn’t really have time to really do sketches,” Royer explained.
Thus, he decided to allow the artistes “to just express themselves on the wall” and since many of them had not worked on a mural before, “it was a great learning experience for them”.
They started the mural almost 10AM, after the Carnival Fascination had docked at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth, and he was concerned that “we would not have time to do something impressive for the tourists to enjoy”.
“But it so happened that giving the artistes freedom to work, we actually finished the entire thing in less than a day,” he indicated, adding that this was an “amazing” accomplishment considering that murals usually take anywhere from one week to a month to complete.
According to Royer, even the “wonderful and totally awesome” Permanent Secretary, Ms. Prevost assisted in painting it.
On the mural is written ‘Sa Ka Fete’ a Kweyol term for asking what’s going on or how are you?
“I figured Sa Ka Fete would be more interesting and more relatable to the tourists than Waitukubuli so I decided to use it,” Royer informed.
This ‘Sa Ka Fete’ idea, which came from one of the members of the Association, was a good way of engaging the visitors as they kept inquiring what it meant and were even able to pronounce it properly.
“So it was really good and some of them held brushes and pretended to paint and it was really, really lovely, and they were really amazed,” Royer said.
He said initially the visitors’ were not very impressed because they had just commenced the priming and sketching of the board.
However, after they returned from their tours around the island and saw that everything was almost done, “they were really amazed at the work that was done” Royer noted.
“People are amazed, they cannot believe that one minute there’s nothing there and the next minute is a completely finished and beautiful artwork that really represents the varied talents that we have in Dominica,” he added.
The painting will remain on the Dame Mary Eugenia Charles Boulevard for some time and then be moved to another location.
“We are just getting started; we’re looking to beautify various ports of entries and designated destinations in Dominica,” Royer said as the mission was to “really impress with this project” and cement the partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
The association plans to work closely with the Ministry as well as communities across the island on similar projects.
“So we’re going to be looking to do more murals around the island and find more walls that the communities could suggest to us to come and paint and beautify for them,” Royer said.