Our mountain riverside resort in Jamaica is a great example of community based tourism. Wherever and whenever possible we opt for locally sourced goods and products. Of course this ethos includes farm to fork food, but it also applies to artwork, decor and furniture. Camp Cabarita is appointed with locally made furniture including custom mid century chairs, beds, and high top bar tables. Even minor design elements like lampshades, door mats and even wastebaskets are crafted with a combination of traditional methods and our own Caribbean inspired couture designs. This article focuses specifically on the paintings and carvings at Camp Cabarita made by local Jamaican artists. Enjoying artwork is one of the important ways we connect our guests to Jamaican culture. We invite you to experience for yourself the power of local Jamaican culture and lifestyle through these amazing local artists’ work.
The paintings on display vary from old time Jamaican scenes, to post modern works. These works of art allow resort guests to experience Jamaica through the eyes of talented artists. Some of the subjects include a plantation great house surrounded by Royal Palm Trees, a peaceful country road in rural Jamaica, and playful multi colored footprints inspired by Jamaica’s national motto “Out of many, One People.” Jamaica’s coat of arm’s features both the national motto and it’s first people who are often credited with being the islands first artisans. A more thorough examination of the historical record however reveals the Taino and Arawak are really Jamaica’s second people.
“Jamaican art dates back to Jamaica’s indigenous Taino and Arawak Tribes, who sculpted zemis, which are carvings of gods or ancestral spirits, for ritual purposes. The demise of this culture after European colonization heralded a new era of art production more closely related to traditional tastes in Europe, created by itinerant artists keen to return picturesque images of the “new world” to Europe.”
While the Taino and Arawaks are known as Jamaica’s first people, the first sapiens to occupy the island were actually the ancestors of Tainos and Arawaks tribes — a people known as the Ciboney. The Ciboney, like the Taino and Arawak people, migrated from Mesoamerica, but some 5,000 years earlier. The Ciboney were skilled stone carvers and actually made the first known art on the modern day island of Jamaica. If you are interested in more information about Jamaica’s first people and indigenous tribes check out our blog post on the History of the Tainos and Arawak. If you are also interested in Jamaican history check out The Best Article on Jamaican Jerk, which explores Jamaica’s history from the Ciboney through the Spanish inquisition through the “lens” of Jerk, Jamaica’s most famous dish.
What’s closed for debate is that Camp Cabarita considers it a privilege to support talented and hard working Jamaican people while at the same time enhancing our Jamaican resort with original artwork. Most large hotels and resorts that have boiler plate decor with generic prints hanging on the walls of perhaps a thousand rooms. By contrast the local art in your room at Camp Cabarita Eco Resort is a detail emblematic of our entire approach to hospitality, and also the reason guests seeking to experience an authentic version Jamaica: to see how local Jamaicans live but also have a vacation. If that sounds interesting and fun, it’s because Camp Cabarita really is the best place to stay in Jamaica.
From the artist’s perspective, having art in our room and common areas serves a dual purpose; its a direct way for guests to support the local community AND it’s an opportunity to display their work to people who otherwise would not had the chance to enjoy their talents. Camp Cabarita’s support of the local art community is made possible by travelers that prefer an authentic experience that helps to preserve Jamaican culture.
The artwork on display at Camp Cabarita is for sale, so if you decide to take home a unique piece of Jamaica, you can trust that you are supporting some island’s very best artisans. But whether or not a Jamaican motif fits your home’s decor, it’s important to understand that your stay alone supports Jamaican artists and changes individual Jamaican lives for better.
Part of our charter is to promote local artists by showcasing their works, supporting the community and providing travelers with the option to take home an original piece of Jamaican Artwork, all while remembering their vacation at the best place to stay in Jamaica … Camp Cabarita!