(CMR) On June 1 and 2, art enthusiasts are set to be swept away by a wave of artistic brilliance as ‘On Our Block’ organizers prepare to host an art exhibition on the origins and evolution of Cayman Street style. The event is set to be a cornerstone event on the Cayman Islands' cultural calendar, attracting art enthusiasts, collectors, and tourists from around the world.
Showcasing an extraordinary array of talent and creativity during Cayman Art Week (May 31 – June 3), the inaugural and highly anticipated event will feature works from both London-based Caymanian designer Jawara Alleyne as well as rapper, filmmaker and creative entrepreneur Josh Pearl.
Both artists are accomplished in their own rights and have pushed boundaries in their respective mediums.
Jawara Alleyne has produced works for the likes of Rihanna, Beyonce, Bella Hadid, FKA Twigs and has been featured in Vogue, ELLE, ID Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, London Fashion Week (multiple times) and more. He is a full-time designer and part-time lecturer at the prestigious Central Saint Martins.
Josh Pearl has a slew of multi-disciplinary achievements, amassing over 900K streams of his music, producing his first award-winning short film, “A Savside Story,” at age 23, and his current venture, MUTINY store and streetwear that recently sold out its latest collection in a matter of days.
For Alleyne, ‘On Our Block’ is the recognition of the pride of the Cayman Islands. He explained, “to be from this space and to defy all odds, to exist and thrive in the creative industry,” noting that it’s much more difficult to break into the creative sectors internationally, especially as Caribbean natives.
He believes working with Pearl will set ‘a precedence for collaboration within the local creative industry'.
He explained, “I look at how the creative sector is segmented in the Cayman Islands and I think that there needs to be a lot more effort…everyone’s sort of in their own space but collectively working together for the depth of a project’…the project being the larger Cayman art scene.”
“I believe people will be blown away by how art can be displayed in such a non-traditional way…it will be something they’ve never seen before and something they’ll appreciate in multidimensional, multifaceted artistic ways,” he added.
Art enthusiasts will be treated to a wide range of subversive mediums that include vivid illustrations, a recreation of Jawara Alleyne’s London studio, MUTINY and Jawara Alleyne fashion presentations, collaboration with local secondary schools to introduce youngsters to the multiplicitous craft, and the unveiling of two new collections.
“We have a curated, beautiful art show that will be amazing for anyone to witness, and for a long time, there’s been the excuse that there’s no standard for the creative arts in the CI, but there are Caymanians creating art that will entertain and blow you away, “ Pearl agreed.
On Our Block is curated by Brand Caribe Innovation Lab, a new non-profit venture that provides support for start-ups and emerging projects of Caribbean creatives. The scope of On Our Block surrounds creating an immersive experience that transports viewers into a world of artistic expression through street style and fashion design. The exhibition will showcase the works of Alleyne and Hydes that have individually and collectively fostered an environment where artistic dialogue thrives.
Founder of the Cayman Art Week, Natalie Urquhart, endorses the two-day exhibit. In a statement, she noted that she’s thrilled to be participating in a live panel discussion with Jawara Alleyne, Josh Pearl, and his mentor, Plus Givens – the Florida-based streetwear designer and recording artist.
“Cayman Art Week provides a platform for artists working across all types of media to show and sell their work. Jawara Alleyne and Josh Pearl are two talented young designers exploring the intersection between art and fashion, expressing Caymanian culture through clothing and street art. We are excited to have this next generation of Caymanian talent participate in Cayman Art Week with creative interventions, panel discussions and open-studio style events,” Urquhart said.
With a focus on providing an enriching experience, the exhibition will feature interactive installations, guided tours, and artist talks, allowing visitors to delve deeper into the artistic process and gain insights directly from the creators themselves.
Founder of Brand Caribe, Patrice Beersingh, said, “This immersive approach ensures that each individual is an active participant in this celebration of Caymanian street style. It is an opportunity to witness first-hand the transformative power of art and explore the myriad ways in which art enriches our lives.”
On Our Block has also garnered support from sponsors such as the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage, Cayman National Cultural Foundation, Royal Bank of Canada, Car City, Cayman Spirits, George Town Revitalisation Initiative, Zeal, Crown Events, and Keep Kreative.
The exhibition will be free and open to the public between 10 am and 8 pm on June 1 and June 2, and with a closing block party starting at 5 pm on June 2. The after-work, block party on June 2 is the big landmark activity and will offer fashion shows, a pop-up skateboard park, a projection show, a gaming lounge, a full bar with free welcome drinks, live DJ, all centering the immersive exhibits.