The sites, the sounds, the smells, all reminded me of my time in Jamaica. In a park on west Randolph street, I was transported back in time to one of my favorite vacations. Vendors lined the walkway with carts of curried and jerked meats. Walking further back on a twisted path that had been made leading into grass, merchants sold jewelry, clothing, bags, and artwork.
It was still early with some vendors still setting up their temporary stores. My eye was seduced by the colors of a station filled with artwork. I am not an art critic, but I found each piece more intriguing than the next. A story was being told in the middle of the park with art. I continued on to speak with other merchants, but knew I must return to meet the person who had created this work.
I observed a lady doing some serious haggling over price on a pair of jeans. There was a man holding court discussing the state of reggae music, while two children were running through the shops playing tag. This was my first trip to the Caribbean Festival and thought it was going to be mostly food and music. Next time, I will be sure to stop by an ATM, so I can make purchases beyond food. I saw plenty of cute summer dresses that would not be in typical retail stores. So individuals looking for something different, this is a great festival worth putting on your future summer calendars.
Making my way back, I had the good fortune to meet artist Mukalia Ayoade. He was very engaging as he told me about his work being inspired by recycled materials. I was quickly won over as a fan while listening to stories about his life. He has a studio he works out of in Chicago and regularly travels back to Nigeria. Checkout his wonderful artwork and contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org Hopefully, I will get a chance to add some of his pieces to my home soon!