Category Archives: Arts & Culture

PANACHE Magazine Wins Big at CTO Travel Media Awards In New York

Best Feature by Caribbean Journalist for a Caribbean Media

June 8, 2018, New York, USA

Kinisha and Tricia
Kinisha Correia (L), award-winning journalist, and Tricia Williamson, CEO & Editorial Director, PANACHE, proudly display their winning award at the recent Caribbean Travel Media Awards in New York.

PANACHE Magazine (the flagship travel and lifestyle magazine from the PANACHE Digital Media family), has won the Best Feature Award that appeared in a Caribbean-based media by a Caribbean-based Journalist.  This was announced at the coveted Caribbean Travel Media Awards in New York on Friday, June 8, 2018.

The award-winning feature, “More than Just Beads: Story and Myth,” which was written by Kinisha Correia, was published in the October 2017 issue and showcased the work of Story & Myth, a Jamaican brand which specialises in, “island-inspired handmade jewellery.”   The four-page feature, which included photography by Niesha Brown, was a unique celebration of stunning earthiness behind each Story & Myth bracelet and necklace.  The feature shared details on how each bead is made and highlighted the fact that they are created by local artisans, many of whom are physically disabled.   The creations of these individuals provide them with much-needed income for their families.


Tricia Williamson, CEO and Editorial Director of PANACHE Magazine, said, “We are honoured by this achievement.  This win speaks volumes to our unwavering commitment to being the voice for Jamaican and Caribbean stories that truly connect with our readers. I commend Kinisha on the way she utilised her writing prowess to produce such a well-written story that captured the imagination of the readers and I am forever grateful to Story & Myth for allowing us to share their powerful story through our magazine.”

Award-winning writer, Kinisha Correia, shared, “I’m appreciative and honoured that my work has been recognized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). I’m also proud that the piece selected was on a business creating change by weaving environmental and socially conscious practices into its work. Winning this award strengthens the message that business can be a force for good in the region. I’m grateful to be a part of that cultural shift.”

Kristie Stephenson, owner of Story & Myth, added that she was, “…thrilled and excited that these long time oral mythical stories are getting acknowledged in the mainstream.”

This was PANACHE’s first time participating in the prestigious travel media awards and along with the historic win; the magazine was also a finalist for Best Photograph Accompanying a Feature.  The image by Ikenna Douglas, which was displayed on the PANACHE Magazine Cover of April 2017, was the entry in this Category.

We’re very proud and excited at PANACHE!  This win is a “celebration of excellence” and we are humbled to know that our efforts are seen in that light!  We are also truly grateful for the recognition of our Caribbean talent by the CTO, as we know that this will serve as motivation to other upcoming Caribbean journalists,” shared Tricia Williamson.


PANACHE Communications/ PANACHE Digital Media is a magazine publishing and digital marketing company based in Jamaica and the USA. PANACHE Magazine is published six times annually in print on demand via Magcloud and free digital editions at

For more info, visit

About the CTO Travel Media Awards

The Caribbean tourism industry cherishes its strong relationship with the media and in appreciation for their constant positive coverage of the region, recognizes media for influencing their readers to travel to the Caribbean.  This recognition took place in New York City during Caribbean Week New York.

To honour the media’s exceptional work in promoting the Caribbean, in feature print, broadcast and online, we invite CTO government members, their public relations agencies and journalists to provide us with their top media placements for 2017 on CTO member countries. Awards will be presented to journalists from US and Caribbean-based media.

For more info, visit:


Calabash’s Lit Up!

The Calabash International Literary Festival was founded in 2001 by three Jamaicans the novelist Colin Channer, the poet Kwame Dawes and the producer Justine Henzell. Their aim was simple—to create a world-class literary festival with roots in Jamaica and branches reaching out into the wider world.
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Photo: PHILIP VOLKERS, Conde Naste Traveller

A three-day festival of readings and music with other forms of storytelling folded in the mix, Calabash is earthy, inspirational, daring and diverse.


Photo: PHILIP VOLKERS, Conde Naste Traveller

After 10 successive years Calabash is now staged on a biennial basis on even years. All festival events are free and open to the public. Passion is the only price of entry. But voluntary contributions are welcomed.


Zadie Smith | Photo: PHILIP VOLKERS, Conde Naste Traveller

The festival is produced by the Calabash International Literary Festival Trust (the Trust), which also produces publishing seminars and writing workshops.


Photo: PHILIP VOLKERS, Conde Naste Traveller

The Trust is affiliated with the Friends of the Calabash International Literary Festival, a registered 501(c)(3) corporation in the United States.


Photo: PHILIP VOLKERS, Conde Naste Traveller

The Calabash International Literary Festival Trust
2a Bamboo Avenue #4
Kingston 6
Jamaica, W.I.


Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick of starts by reminding us she was here for the very 1st staging of Calabash and that Treasure Beach is one of her favorite places in the world


We’re happy to support the 14th staging of Calabash! One of the greatest international literary festivals!

“In keeping with the town’s anything-goes vibe, Calabash is free and open to the public. At each event, as many as 3,000 people ranging from local fishermen to New York literati gather at Jake’s, on a lawn by the sea, to listen and learn.”

– New York Times T Magazine May 2014

“ It’s the Calabash International Literary Festival, Jamaica’s unique, spirited take on the world of literary gatherings,….”

“(Salman) Rushdie said it’s no wonder that Calabash has steadily earned a name as a festival of choice for some of the world’s most gifted authors “It is an extraordinary event. The audience is big, extremely appreciative, very focused. And the setting is spectacular,” he told The Associated Press on Sunday, a day after he took to the stage to discuss his writings and career in front of an eager, diverse crowd of a few thousand people.”

Associated Press June 2014

“Treasure Beach is untouched and almost defiant in its beauty, which is why every two years numbers of authors and lovers of words travel to this stretch of land for Calabash Literary Festival. Founded in 2001, the festival draws in top literary figures from all over the world to Jakes Hotel, and this year was no exception.”

– Ebony June 2014

“Calabash is the sort of literary festival to whom the label “literary festival” applies only because there’s no neat phrase for “reggae-fied, rootsy-intellectual, interdisciplinary extravaganza for those who worship words, abhor pretension and believe that ‘smart’ and ‘fun’ need not be mutually exclusive.”

“Calabash is, in a nutshell, all that’s right with Jamaica”

– Wall Street Journal June 2010

“Why go to Hay-on-Wye and get your feet wet when you can head to Jamaica for rum punch and reggae at the world’s most frisky literary festival?”

– Conde Nast Traveller Oct 2014

“In its 10th triumphal year, Calabash is one of the most improbable, beloved, literary-musical-human -gatherings in the world.”

– Boston Globe, Dec 2010

“The island is a literary hotbed. Look up Calabash Literary Festival and Jakes and you’ll uncover what is becoming a world-class celebration of books, with a funky fusion of music and spoken word.”

Toronto Star, June 2012


“Jamaican literature competes on the world stage just like our athletes do” – . And mash it up too.

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Launch event of Calabash 2018


For 2018 authors, schedule, purpose, accommodations, information and publications see


The mission of the Calabash International Literary Festival Trust is to transform the literary arts in the Caribbean by being the region’s best-managed producer of workshops, seminars and performances. We will achieve these goals by focusing on our audiences, managing our budget, creating a community of supporters in the media, government, business, the performing arts, philanthropic organizations and publishing, and by becoming the festival of choice for the world’s most gifted authors.

Photos Below: PHILIP VOLKERS, Conde Naste Traveller




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Deep in the Wood Work with Tamara Harding

Trees sprout up from the earth- fed by the soil, maintained by water, and given energy from sunlight. They expand- extending toward the clouds, stretching branches and digging roots deep and wide. Development and a myriad of human ventures see many trees being cut. But isn’t it a wonderful thought that somehow we can keep these trees in our spaces after they are cut? So they can somehow continue to add that powerful earth element to our spaces. Tamara Harding, the creator of Mara Made Designs may have had this thought, resulting in what may be among the most remarkable pieces of functional art in the world. A body of work which emerged in shapes and forms from trees – “Blue Mountains to Mocho.”

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“The magic begins before the tree is cut,” she said with excitement shining through her eyes.

Walking into her workspace, you’d first see sawdust like snow, huge blocks and trunks of trees. You’d see strong men paying close attention to the instructions coming from a relatively smaller frame assertively guiding the team- clothed in overalls and protective gear. You would then receive the warmest greeting in a cheerful tone, accompanied by a beautiful smile from the leader of the team. That is the duality that is Tamara “Mara” Harding.


Tamara speaks to us in her living room, opening up about her journey as a dyslexic tomboy with a high IQ. A child who absorbed information a little differently from most- but clearly had the ability to express it in ways that were nothing less than clever, original, and inventive. “Being dyslexic was almost definitive of my nature. It required me finding other ways to get things done. I had to work on the traditional ways of learning, and creating.” A deep appreciation and exploration of her whole self as an individual was also another defining quality of Harding. She describes herself as the teenager who cared about her nails and ballet, but also thoroughly enjoyed playing competitive water polo. This “ebb and flow” of her nature, as she calls it, is what she flows over into her creations. It was a moment of awe, discovering that “Mara” was not formally trained to do what she now does. She was not trained in woodwork, metalwork or visual arts- yet she creates some of the most stunning pieces to be found in homes, restaurants and boardrooms all around Jamaica.


Deepak Chopra speaks of the fact that “…even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might not have imagined.” This is likely to have been the case with Harding. After being involved in the business of doing home renovations, followed by running a successful advertising agency with her husband, Zachary- she still experienced what she described as a “feeling of urgency- like time was running out.” The feeling of urgency came along with the feeling of a need for a more holistic and deeply purposeful, passion-filled day to day kind of productivity. In response to these prodigious changes, after five years of operation and tremendous growth- the doors of “Agency 20Seven” were closed. The closure of her corporate business operations allowed her the time and silence- which gave way to her spending more time with herself and more time for mindfulness in nature, which allowed a creative awakening. An inspiration which prompted her to act- gaining momentum, propelling her love for creating to where it has now become a booming business driven by passion and purpose.

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And like a tree, she is rejuvenated by nature with her feet in the soil, at the beach or rivers, her soul being maintained by water and absorbing energy from the sun’s rays. She is expanding- extending toward the clouds, stretching and digging roots deep and wide.

Deepak Chopra speaks of the fact that,“Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might not have imagined.”

The work by Mara Made Designs speaks for itself- when you experience it, you will feel it!|P

Capturing The Jamaican Culture (Shot By Deth)

To quote words from the most prolific dancehall artist of the 21st century, Vybz Kartel “Dancehall a mi everything”, is a sentiment shared by many both locally and internationally. Within the dancehall sphere, many jobs and opportunities are created, but being able to capture an image of a particular time or occurrence could shift the way we view the dancehall industry or even the Jamaican society itself. This is why photography is considered an art because it literally encapsulates and immortalizes the world in a single shot/moment. Jamaica, being a breeding ground of art, has its fair share of photographers but only a few stand out from the very expressive bunch. The “few” are the ones who possess the capability to instantly evoke an emotion that enables the viewer to create a conversation about/around the story they just saw, that and the unique way that the image is taken and edited. Looking at the artist, dance moves, fashion and just the richness of culture, one is often prompted to ask about the person who is able to put a thousand words into a single image.

Keanu Gordon (Shot By Deth) is a 19-year-old self-taught photographer hailing from the capital city Kingston,  who captures the Jamaican dancehall scene through an artistic millennial purview. His excitingly colorful yet often somber pictures usually showcase somewhat of an x-ray into the content of the image. Seemingly candid, the pictures give a youthful take on the ever so evolving dancehall scene which in my opinion gives international viewers a modern take on the Jamaican culture and dancehall industry. Being this creative with a fresh eye and a unique signature, Keanu has most certainly begun to charter his course in photography and the artistic arena. He is also proof that the memories of particular dancehall happenings will most certainly be preserved.

In The Tropix with Keisha Als

“Tropix-Season 2” That’s the new swimwear collection by notable Trinidadian, “Monday wear” and carnival costume designer Keisha Als, set the hit retail stores at the end of June.
Known for her beautiful and elaborate Monday wear designs and collection, which are typically embellished bath suits that females wear during Trinidad’s Carnival Monday (the actual costume is worn on the Tuesday), Keisha opted to have an official swimwear collection from last summer when she launched Tropix Season 1.

“My inspiration for this year is keeping it sexy which is tropical, but also keeping it edgy by incorporating fish nets and mesh in it, being on trend with the sporty look that has been around for the past six months,” said Als.  The aesthetic of the swimwear collection also focuses on solid colours with a touch of gold beads, which Als said is something she often uses for her Monday wear designs.  Tropix season 2 features around five primary designs that are duplicated in white, black, army green, neon yellow and coral colours.
For a second year in a row, Als choose to do her personal photo-shoot for the Tropix collection in Jamaica. In addition to the fact that it she wraps up work for Carnival in Jamaica near to the start of summer, she described the scenery in Jamaica as simply perfect, great and fun.
“I do also have a solid Jamaican fan base and I do of course appreciate Jamaica and the Jamaican culture; so shooting in places like Hellshire and Downtown Kingston, I feel very fortunate to tap into that part of Jamaican culture and to resonate with my Jamaican fan base visually”
The Tropix Season 2 collection will be available at 212 Location retail outlets in Trinidad. Persons outside of Trinidad and Tobago who are interested in ordering one of the pieces can simply do so by emailing Als at |P

MBJ Airports to host International Reggae Poster Contest awards and exhibition

Sangster International Airport operator MBJ Airports is pleased to announce it will host an awards ceremony and exhibition for the annual International Reggae Poster Contest on 17 November 2017.

The exhibition will feature the top 100 posters from the fifth annual contest, selected from among 1,270 entries submitted by 748 graphic designers representing 75 nations. The winning submissions can be seen on the competition’s website,

The first place winner, Russian national Julia Egorova, has won a trip to Jamaica sponsored by MBJ Airports and the Spanish Court Hotel to participate in the awards ceremony and spend a week exploring the island’s culture. Second place went to Cortney Benvenuto of the US, and third place to Simona Galizia, of Italy. Posters created by two Jamaican graphic designers, Andre Hutchinson and Phillip Taylor, were also selected for the exhibition.

The International Reggae Poster Contest invites sponsors to join MBJ Airports in supporting the awards ceremony and exhibition. The International Reggae Poster Contest will be held alongside a ceremony awarding winners of an artisan’s competition, whose crafts will be made available for sale in partnering retail outlets at the airport.

The brainchild of late Jamaican graphic designer Michael “Freestylee” Thompson, the International Reggae Poster Contest was launched in 2012 in collaboration with Greek graphic designer Maria Papaefstathiou. Jamaican cultural critic and retired University of the West Indies Professor Carolyn Cooper is an advisor and board member of the organization behind the competition. Exhibitions have been held across the world at Jamaican embassies, reggae festivals, in galleries, museums and universities. This is the first year the exhibition will be hosted by an airport.

As its primary objective, the contest engages reggae fans from across the globe by providing a platform for artistic expression that celebrates the universal appeal of and respect for Jamaican music. The outpouring of artistic talent in turn heightens Jamaica’s musical presence internationally, supporting the founders’ vision for a world class Reggae Hall of Fame in Kingston.

Secondly, the contest aims to raise awareness and funding through the sale of posters for the Alpha Boys’ School, a non-profit institute that provides vocational training and general education for 150 teens and young men from inner city communities. Alpha Boys’ School has nurtured several notable icons of Jamaican music and continues to make an important social and cultural contribution.

Notwithstanding its name, the Poster Contest welcomes submissions that celebrate all genres of Jamaican music, from mento to ska, rocksteady and dancehall. Two jury panels are comprised of 24 judges each, hailing from Jamaica, Canada, Greece, the US, Mexico, Cuba, Ghana, China, Japan, Bolivia, Italy, Israel and the UK.

About MBJ Airports:

MBJ Airports Limited, operator of Sangster International Airport, is a partnership between Mexico-based Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP) and Canada-based Vantage Airport Group Ltd. through a 30-year concession agreement with the Government of Jamaica that began in 2003. For more information about MBJ Airports, please visit

001. Positive vibrations | Julia Egorova – Russia 001. Positive vibrations | Julia Egorova – Russia

Jamaican Artist Bulsby Duncan to exhibit at Agora Gallery New York!

Chelsea’s Agora Gallery will feature the exhibition Elemental Realms, which opens May 19, 2017 and runs through June 8, 2017 with an opening reception on Thursday May 25 from 6-8 pm. Any art lover who enjoys thought-provoking artworks and meeting talented and interesting artists is encouraged to attend.

Exhibition Dates: May 19, 2017–  June 8, 2017

Reception: Thursday, May 25, 6:00pm – 8:00pm Gallery Hours: Tues-Sat 11-6 Gallery Location: 530 West 25th St, Chelsea, New York

Featured Artists:

Donna Broder|  Wojciech Tut Chechliński|  Bulsby “Buzz” Duncan|  

Iftah Geva|  Isabella S. Minichmair|  Marlene Kurland|  Kankan Ramos  

|  F. Pavon|  Menno Vos

About the Exhibition:

Creating New Textures in Elemental Realms

         This May Agora Gallery presents Elemental Realms, a collective exhibition that bursts with the energy of the new. This show features artists from all over the world who have one thing in common: a love of experimenting with texture. In oil, acrylic, and even more physically complicated media like gold leaf, the artists in Elemental Realms interrogate how both two-dimensional and three-dimensional surfaces convey information.

         A key medium throughout the history of art, paint is also the most frequently used material in this exhibition. One artist feathers the canvas so lightly with acrylic that it almost seems to leave a soft kiss. Another creates an entire texture by cracking the time-hardened surface of his oils. One artist combines acrylic paint with a large volume of gold leaf to create abstract topographies in real space. These works evoke not just the final visual effect of paint on canvas (or board, or any number of surfaces), but the action of laying it down: the speed, the spontaneity, the care.

Elemental Realms begins May 19, 2017 and runs through June 8, 2017 with an opening reception on May 25 from 6-8 pm. Entrance is free.

About Agora Gallery

Agora Gallery is a contemporary fine art gallery located in the heart of Chelsea’s fine art district in New York. Established in 1984, Agora Gallery specializes in connecting art dealers and collectors with national and international artists. The art gallery’s expert consultants are available to assist corporate and private clients in procuring original artwork to meet their organization’s specific needs and budget requirements. With a strong online presence and popular online gallery, ARTmine, coupled with the spacious and elegant physical gallery space, the work of our talented artists, who work in diverse media and styles, can receive the attention it deserves. Over the years Agora Gallery has sponsored and catered to special events aimed at fostering social awareness and promoting the use of art to help those in need.