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KOTE 2012: Opening the 'I' in Identity

Kingston on the Edge

Kingston is getting ready to showcase its artsy side with the return of the festival Kingston on the Edge (KOTE), under the theme Identity, The Opened I. The festival will take place over eight (8) days and will feature more than 25 events across the cityscape from Friday, June 22 through to Sunday June 30, 2012.

The festival began in 2007 and returns after a one year break. KOTE 2012 continues the tradition of a Friday night opening at RedBones the Blues Cafe and proffers a diverse blend of music and visual arts at different sections of the grounds. The night’s activities will include exhibitions of work by Chandis, Charl Baker, JBW X, and the ‘Outta Many One’ portraits on rocks by Inansi. Music from the Papiumba Big Band, Suzanne Couch and Addis Pablo will also be a part of the opening event.

KOTE 2012 will feature some of the events that audiences have come to enjoy, including its collaboration with galleries such as the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ), Studio 174, the Olympia Gallery, the Mutual Gallery and Bolivar Gallery. The short film festival which has become a KOTE staple also returns and will take place on Monday, June 25, 2012. The night promises films by Storm Saulter and Peter Dean Rickards.

New initiatives include the copyright forum being staged at the NGJ by Visual and Performing Arts Jamaica (VPAJ). A staging of Pecha Kucha 20x20 will also join the roster. Pecha Kucha is a movement which began in Japan and features 20 minute presentations using 20 images. Pecha Kucha will take place on Wednesday, June 27, at the Grosvenor Galleries.

Omar Francis, one of the event organizers, noted that KOTE is ideally suited to Kingston because of the creativity that abounds in the city. “We’re such a creative space, Kingston,” he said. He explained that the festival aims to encourage growth and cross-pollination in the arts. Francis pointed out that the festival’s strength rests in the fact it’s driven by the artistic community and those interested in fostering and supporting the arts.

“It’s not controlled by the people who organize it or even the people who put on the events,” he said, pointing out that much is determined by the audiences who attend the events. Indeed, several of the events surround audience participation.

Francis further explained that the festival serves as a creative space that encourages the development of the arts as well as focuses attention on existing artistic expressions. “It’s both a channel and a light,” he said. “A lot of these things are going on but nobody knows about it.”

KOTE embraces painting, sculpture, photography, film, poetry, dance, theatre, music, performance art, and installations and through these varies forms will encourage Kinstonians to open their ‘I’ and explore issues of identity.