Aboukir Artists Retreat- Adisa Haven for Artist

“Step into the past, reimagine the future and create your reality…”

Why this site:

Both my paternal grandparents, Ezikel Palmer and Edith Melahado Palmer were both in St Ann, near Aboukir, and it was the first  home of my late father, Orlando Melahado Palmer, when the family returned from Cuba, where he and his sister, Enid were born. My grandfather, Ezikel Palmer is buried in the first church of the area, which he helped to support.  Reportedly, my grandfather who was a tailor and also owned one of the first shops in the area, and was also credited for being the first person in the district to have electricity. Although I did not visit Aboukir much after my grandfather died when I was eight years old, I have fond, if not vague memories of the place. When I learned, about 8 years before my father died. that my father had sold off all the land, except for a small plot which was the site of his first home, and he was about to sell that I asked him to let me purchase it, and he sold it to me for $5000 US. This site represent family history and connection to ancestral lineage. Although it is not large enough to create the residency I envision, it is a start, and I need your help to make this start.


I have been fortunate to have been awarded several residencies that have allowed me to just write and dedicate 100% time to my work. In these settings, also I had the wonderful opportunity to interact with international artists from many disciplines, that would not have occurred outside the context of such residencies. It is because of these opportunities that I want to create a residency in Jamaica, my homeland, that is located in a place that is rich with natural beauty and also the birthplace of many phenomenal figures such as Marcus Garvey one of our national heroes, and certainly one of the most well known Jamaicans, Bob Marley, the reggae superstar.

Given the history of this place, I believe it is ideal for an artist residency. 


To provide an ideal place where six (6) writers and artists can come together over a 2-month period  to concentrate on their work, as well as design a project which should in some way engage the community.  Artists will be required to execute a project that will allow them to interact with members of the community, dedicating two hours weekly.

Every two months, 6 artists, two of whom will always be writers,  and at least from the Caribbean region, will be invited to attend.  The goal will be to bring a diverse group of writers/artist to spend time doing their work and exchanging with each other.

2-months during the summer, June-August,  will be reserved for artists who are single parents with children. Artists/writers and their children will be invited to spend 2 months. The residency will provide childcare, and will limit the number of residency to 3 or 4 participants, depending on the number of children.

Participants will be required to complete a basic application form, submit sample of their work and answer 3 shot questions.

The goal will be to always have a diverse range of artists/writers, in mediums, and varying degree of experiences – emerging as well as professional writers/artists . We will target Caribbean and Latin American artists, as these are most underrepresented areas, and writers/artists from this region has limited opportunities in comparison to writers/artists in the USA and Europe.  Nonetheless, we will also welcome artists from the USA as well as Europe.

Ideally we will have 2 writing studios, 3 studios for visual or multimedia artists and one dedicated space for a performance artist (dance/theatre/music or any other performance base art).

Artists will be required to participate in a culminating activity that will be open to local artists from the island, as well as community members to see their project and hear about the development of their work while at the residency. All artists/writers will be required to do an exit interview.

Throughout the residency, there will be one weekly dinner in which various artists/writers from the Jamaican community will invited to exchange and socialize with visiting artists/writers.

In addition, cultural trips will be planned for artists/writers, which will include visits to natural sites as well as museum/galleries, etc.

 Artists/writers will be selected by a panel that will review resumes/submitted work and artist statements.

History of At Ann:

Located in the lovely parish of St Ann, the largest parish in Jamaica, situated on the north coast of the island, in the county of Middlesex, St Ann is roughly halfway between the eastern and western ends of the island. Frequently referred to as “the Garden Parish of Jamaica” due to its natural beauty. Its capital, Saint ann’s Bay comprises New Seville, the first Spanish Settlement in Jamaica, and which now sports a population of approximately,173,232 inhabitants.

One of the oldest populated areas in the island tracing back to 600–650 A.D. It is believed to be the earliest Taino/Arawak settlement in Jamaica. When Christopher Columbus first came to Jamaica in 1494, he landed on the shores of St. Ann at Discovery Bay, Jamaica. He returned to Jamaica on his fourth voyage and was eventually marooned for one year at St. Ann’s Bay (June 1503 – June 1504), which he called Santa Gloria. St. Ann’s Bay became the third capital established by Spain in the Americas. In 1526, the Spaniards established the first sugar mills in Sevilla.

The boundary between St. Ann and St. Mary is formed by the White River, which flows for 27.4 kilometers. Other rivers like the Dunn’s River appear intermittently, but the main rivers are Negro, St. Ann, Great, Roaring, Cave and Pedro.

Given its historical and natural wonder, such as Dunn’s River Falls and its many beaches, including Puerto Seco, St. Ann is one of the major tourist destinations of Jamaica. There is a cruise ship dock (maritime) on the west shore of Ocho Rios Bay, and numerous hotels and resorts are located in and around the city.

The legacy of St Ann’s is also very much connected to music and heroism. The birthplace and launching ground of the Marcus Mosiah Garvey,  one of the seven National Heroes of Jamaica, it is also the brith place of Bob Marley, the greatest reggae star so far, as well birth place to other talented and recognized reggae singers Floyd LloydBurning Spear,Busy SignalBryan ArtRomain VirgoChezidekShabba RanksJustin Hinds, et al.

Natural & Historical Sites:

  • Dunn’s River Falls
  • Green Grotto Caves
  • Ocho Rios Marine Park
  • Fern Gully
  • Shaw Park Gardens
  • Coyaba River Garden
  • Puerto Seco Beach
  • Chukka Cove Adventures
  • White River Rafting
  • Dolphin Cove
  • Cranbrook Flower Forrest
  • Seville heritage park
  • Mystic Mountain
  • Bob Marley Mausoleum, Nine Mile
  • Columbus Park
  • Marcus Garvey Statue, St. Ann’s Bay
  • Edinburgh Castle (ruins)
  • Roaring River

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