Sun | May 19, 2019

Art Connect Ja: Home of the talented

Published:Sunday | March 3, 2019 | 12:07 AMRocheda Bartley - Gleaner Writer
Roena Williams talks about the uniqueness of the handcrafted pieces at Art Connect Ja.
Roena Williams talks about the uniqueness of the handcrafted pieces at Art Connect Ja.

“I believe that art imitates life and that is what I like about it the most. I only get to appreciate it through working at our store. I see it drawing from real experiences and moments. It’s just human life on canvas,” proclaimed the store manager of Art Connect Ja.

What first started out as a flower in Kingston in 2015, is now one of the best locales for eclectic and fascinating art pieces. The craft hub is strategically positioned at Devon House.

The family-owned enterprise is the creation of a mother-daughter duo, Enith and Roena Williams.

Following an unexpected failure from the first business venture, the two desperately sought after a suitable alternative. The combined vision of a business associate and Roena inspired the change. It was to create a space where visitors could find unique Jamaican-made products that could be the perfect gift.

On any given day you’ll find Rowena Williams, comfortably sitting in the store, ready and waiting to help you make the right art choices. And although it’s geared towards finding gifts, the creators are first thought of.

“The premise of Art Connect Ja, is providing Jamaican artists, artisans and other creative entrepreneurs with a platform to sell their natural talents on both a local and international basis. People from all over the world come here, so we felt like this is the best place to set up shop,” Roena explained to Outlook.

Art Connect Ja carries exclusive, high-quality, pieces. That’s what the art lover believes makes the gift shop so fascinating. There, the obvious is most obscure, as its tagline suggests. It alludes to the concept that one-of-a-kind gifts are abound and persons need only look closer, beyond the surface.

WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE

“From the outskirts, it looks like just another art gallery, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are a high-quality gift store with something for everybody,” Roena explained

It doesn’t matter how quirky your interests are, or how simple your taste for art is, you’re sure to find an option that will inevitably put a smile on your face. If you want to brighten someone’s day, it is still an easy feat to achieve the moment you set foot into the home of fine art. Painted love rocks, fish-scale earrings, all-natural cleaning products, hemp oil, bamboo watches and sunglasses are only a few of the quirky yet beautiful options that lay quietly waiting for your ownership.

“Unlike a number of other gift stores, we are pushing Buy Jamaica into full force. We identify ourselves as the number one gift store in Jamaica. There is no other store to rival our vast and wide selection. We understand that part of what keeps customers coming back for more is wide and vast selections, so we offer a diverse and wide array of selections. Here, you will find gifts for babies, toddlers, teen adults, women, men, and the list goes on and on,” she boasted.

The pair is working to make Art Connect Ja a staple source of inspiration for creatives. A number of pieces from some of Jamaica’s most adept creators, such as Heather Sutherland Wade, Anna-Kaye Wade and Rachel Moss, are encouraging all to learn to value the imagination of others.

As Roena says, “Art is a universal experience. What we see in art we identify with and recognise, and regardless of its origins, it is familiar in conveying everyday emotions and sentiments.”

rocheda.bartley@gleanerjm.com