September 30, 2015

Words by Jesse Serwer
Photos by Martei Korley

Dominica is considered the “Nature Island” of the Caribbean for its rugged, unspoiled wilderness, active volcanoes, and world-class diving. But its got some pretty cool-looking buildings, too.

Roseau is one of the most colorful Caribbean cities, a panoply of pastel-colored structures with jalousie-style windows and ornate, wooden verandas. Dominica being the last major island in the Caribbean to be colonized, the city is a bit younger than other Caribbean ports. But you’d never know that from a stroll through town, which is home to one of the best-preserved collections of 18th-century architecture in the Caribbean. Wooden structures known as ti’ kaz still bear the hallmarks of Roseau’s original settlers, the Kalinago.

Roseau, like much of Dominica, suffered flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Erika last month. Although the city didn’t see the devastation experienced in other, more isolated parts of the island, overflow from the Roseau River has left many historic buildings at risk.

In his “Roseau Walls” photo series, photographer and LargeUp creative director/co-founder Martei Korley brings us a survey of the capital city’s colorful architecture and street art, as seen before the storm. Scroll through, see more of Martei Korley’s images from the Nature Island here, and find out how you can donate to the relief efforts below.

dominica-roseau-walls-1The Arawak House of Culture has operated on Kennedy Avenue since 1994. It serves as Dominica’s primary performing-arts space, hosting plays, fashion shows and dance events. It’s also the site of the annual wob dwiyet competitions, beauty pageants showcasing Dominica’s traditional ladies Creole wear, or wob, held in October.

dominica-roseau-walls-2“We are the Musical Experts.” Want to score a CD with some of that bouyon you’ve been raving to in Dominica? Here’s the place to get it.

dominica-roseau-walls-3A wood-and-brick home, likely dating back to the 18th century, illuminated from the inside.

dominica-roseau-walls-4This attractive shade of green is, fortunately, one of the more commonly seen colors in Roseau.

dominica-roseau-walls-5Los Cincos Cubanos, or the Cuban Five, were five Cuban intelligence officers arrested in Miami in 1998, and later convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and other criminal activities by the U.S. government. They were released last year following repeated calls for their freedom, marking a major step in the thawing of political relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Dominica has maintained strong diplomatic ties with Cuba throughout the years, as evidenced by this mural seen on the corner of Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard.

dominica-roseau-walls-6A food truck parked near the Roseau Sea Wall. The trash in the street is not typical. This photo was shot in the aftermath of an all-night street party during Dominica’s Creole celebrations in late October.

dominica-roseau-walls-7Two colorfully painted houses compete for the eye’s attention in the heart of town.

dominica-roseau-walls-8A house in Roseau’s French Quarter, one of the city’s oldest and best-preserved areas. Fort Young, now the site of Roseau’s largest hotel, dates back to the 1720s, though hurricanes and fires have led to perpetual rebuilding. The fort later housed Roseau’s police station, before its conversion into a hotel in the 1960s.

dominica-roseau-walls-9Known as the Bishop’s House, this Italianate structure in the Newtown area belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Roseau. Note the understated but elegant landscaping.

The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has recognized and endorsed the following pages:

A website has been set up at to provide news and information on relief efforts.