The Wall, Tortola, BVI
One of the best kept secret's of the British Virgin Islands is the people. Close-knit communities and strong community spirit are a fact of life. They strongly believe in helping each other and welcoming newcomers and visitors to the islands. Their roots are in Africa but the culture is strongly Caribbean. Many of the families have been in the BVI for generations but there are also many people from other islands and countries that have made their homes here, making the islands a global melting pot.
August Festival is a time where the Islanders celebrate their emancipatation from slavery in 1834. Many cultural events are held over the weeks in small villages as well as neighbouring islands.
Part of keeping culture alive in the BVI is the preservation of the "Tortola Sloops." These locally built sloops dating back to the early 1900's were used as vessels to transport agricultural products and livestock to neighbouring islands.
British Virgin Islands
Today, the sloops compete in several sailing regattas throughout the BVI. The most popular race takes place during Festival Week with the Governor of the BVI racing against the Chief Minister with crowds of people cheering them on along the waterfront of Road Town.
The Islanders love music – from Fungi, a form of scratch band music, where gourds and washboards are played, to Calypso, Reggae and Salsa. Local artists show off the culture in galleries on the Islands. Several local artists are known for their work all throughout the Caribbean and world.
A popular island attraction, The "Wall", a long colourful mural along Tortola's Ridge Road, depicts many aspects of the islands' heritage. This seventy- five yard concrete retaining wall is totally covered with paintings by the local artists Thor Downing, CAT, Ghost, TGIF, Roosevelt, and Quito Rymer, who is also a local reggae and folk singer.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
All of the hand paintings were done in the year of 2002, when the above artists organized a theme of depicting the early life in the British Virgin Islands after their emancipation from slavery. The people lived off the land, farming and fishing from the sea in the early days, as there were seldom visits from down island traders making visits to the BVI to bring supplies.
The paintings depict the daily going ons and hard work that the people did to exist in the early years in the past. The paintings are just one way of the community keeping their heritage alive in the BVI.
Check out our Photo Gallery for more
photos of the Ridge Road Wall.