DOWNTOWN KINGSTON

Text and Photos By Pietro Carlino

Jamaica has a rich history, signed by violence and blood. A past of piracy and slavery, of fight and struggle.
One of the most religious country in the world, influenced by ancient african rituals, motherland of Rastafarianism, Jamaica is also worldwide famous for it’s music: from mento to ska and from reggae to dancehall. But Jamaica is also well-known to be a dangerous place. The island has one of the highest crime and murder rate in the world. Downtown Kingston – where time is marked by the daily curfews – is divided in garrisons, areas controlled by ‘dons’, local bosses often conneceted to one of the two main jamaican parties – JLP and PNP – and involved into the smuggling of arms and drugs. Those areas area avoided by Jamaicans and tourists, who consider it too dangerous.The civil unrests of the last years, when to arrest the local don, Cristopher Coke, the police had to face the people of his garrison in a fight that led to more then 70 deaths, perfectly mirrors the reality of downtown and the sensation of its inhabitants of living in a dangerous armed place. Even if the famous streetparties of downtown are now forbidden music and daggering, a sexually explicit dance, are between the few getaway from the daily life of the ghettos.
Violence is a daily possibility, and some musicians like the dancehall artist Kartel, now in prison for murder, or the reggae artists Buju Banton, Capleton and Sizzla, who sing their lyrics against omosexuals, influence the youngest generations. Beside the daily violence, jamaicans have to face other problems related to corruption, omophobic violence, poverty and HIV. The result is a lack of opportunities for the youngest generation, who perceive the island as a cage, and often join the already huge jamaican diaspora.

About Pietro Carlino:
Born in Rome, after studying architecture , Pietro moved to Berlin to start his career as architect. His passion for photography has brought him to develop several personal projects as Instant PortrArt, where he portrayed some italian artists with a SX70, the artists then created a single artwork of the same dimensions of the polaroid in order to create a unique object that represent the artis and his work in a specific moment of his/her life. Last year he started his long term project in one of the most religious, dangerous and rich in culture country in the world: Jamaica.

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