Just off the insane asylum in St Ann's, at a bend on Sydenham Avenue, is a small gingerbreadish house with a red door. The fretwork is painted primary school green, the walls are the colour of body lotion. There are burglar-proof iron grilles and wooden louvres.
'The Republic of Sydenham', which opens up inside into several rooms, including an incredible attic, has, over the last few years, been a home for art, music, dance, critical discourse and fete. It is currently the home for New York/Trinidadian based dancer Makeda Thomas and her Roots and Wings Movement which has hosted a dance and performance institute there. Last year, the space opened a modest art gallery. Countless musicians, including LAZA beam, Coreysan, Sheldon Holder and Sheldon Blackman, have also performed in its walls.
Dancer Celia Weiss Bambara performs in the attic at the Republic last Saturday. Photo courtesy the artist.