Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Martei Korley—
Over the next few weeks, LargeUp will be rolling out a series of photo essays showcasing life and culture in Dominica, the Caribbean’s Nature Island and, many might say, its best kept secret. As much as Dominica is typical of the Eastern Caribbean, with its laid-back ways and mixture of Anglo and French/Creole language and culture, it has its own unique rhythm. These photos aim to capture and communicate that rhythm.
As in much of the Caribbean, roadside advertisements for local businesses in Dominica are still done largely by hand, by skilled local painters. The result makes for a much more stimulating array of imagery than you’ll find on the road in the States or Europe, where cookie-cutter, computer-generated billboards predominate, and actual human touches only come from (generally illegal) graffiti. If you spend enough time on the road in Dominica, you might even begin to notice individual styles and aesthetics running through the adverts of different businesses and entities.
Driving from Roseau to Portsmouth, in the north of Dominica, one late afternoon, we found Gabriel, a sign painter from the village of Thibaud, putting the finishing touches on a mural for local mobile DJ unit, along a sea wall near Melville Hall Airport in Marigot. We were running late for an appointment with mangrove-lined Indian River, but we had to stop to admire his impressive work.
While the light blue and orange colors of the Super Sonic Sound advert were what first caught our eyes, it was just one of many many murals on the wall painted that day by Gabriel, whose other clients also included a welding company and Paulo Hide Away & Sleep, a nearby bed and breakfast. Check out his style.