Peter Johnson – Want Freedom (2012), alabaster
The NGJ regrets the passing of the sculptor Peter Ralph Johnson. He was born on April 4, 1960 and most recently lived at 17 James Street, in downtown Kingston, where he operated his sculpture workshop.
Johnson was essentially self-taught as an artist, although he attended some leisure classes at the Edna Manley College. He also worked in the studio of artists such as Fitz Harrack and Judith Salmon. He collaborated with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission for many years, mounting exhibitions and doing set, costume design and restoring antiques. He also worked with Mutual Gallery, Gallery Pegasus and Grosvenor, mainly assisting with the mounting of exhibitions. He was a regular participant in the National Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition and was awarded bronze medals in 1982 1993 and 1996 and he had also exhibited at the NGJ in 2012 National Biennial. Johnson exhibited at various other galleries, including the Grosvenor Gallery and Gallery Pegasus. Most recently he was collaborating with the children’s workshops organized by OAaSIS International in downtown Kingston. Continue reading
Michael Parchment – Death of a Don (2010)
The National Gallery of Jamaica deeply regrets the passing of the painter, sculptor and poet Michael Parchment on Tuesday, August 20, 2013.
Michael Parchment was born on August 13, 1957 to a Revival family and he lived in Seaview Gardens in Kingston for most of his adult life. Called by visions, he started painting in 1978 and had his first exhibition in 1983. He was a regular participant in the Festival Fine Arts Exhibition (later the National Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition), where he won many accolades, including Gold medals in 2006 and 2007. He regularly exhibited at Harmony Hall, the Mutual Gallery and the National Gallery of Jamaica in Jamaica, where he won the Tribute to Bob Marley Competition in 2005 with his relief panting No Woman Nuh Cry (2005). He was featured in the National Gallery’s Intuitives III exhibition in 2006. Parchment also exhibited internationally in the USA, Venezuala, England and Switzerland, and Canada and was recently featured in Contemporary Jamaican Art, Circa 1962/Circa 2012, which was staged on the occasion of Jamaica 50 at the Art Gallery of Mississauga near Toronto. He also self-published several volumes of his poetry, which had titles such as I Raged in Chains and The Inna Thoughts and Feelings of the Poet.
Michael Parchment – No Woman Nuh Cry (2005), Collection: NGJ
Wilfred Francis – Ethiopia Stretches Forth Her Hands (1968), Collection: Wayne Chen
The National Gallery of Jamaica deeply regrets the passing of self-taught artist Wilfred Francis on August 21, 2013.
Wilfred Francis, who was popularly known as “Jabba”, was born in Spanish Town on August 24, 1924 – he died just three days short of his 89th birthday – and started painting sometime in 1966. His first exhibition on record was the 1967 Festival exhibition, where his work was favourably received, but Francis withdrew from the formal art world shortly after although he continued working, reportedly because of negative experiences with art patrons. Nearly forty years later, he started exhibiting again, encouraged by art dealer and collector Wayne Gallimore, and in 2004 had his first and only solo exhibition at the Mutual Gallery. His unique style and eccentric, visionary imagination were a revelation to many in the Jamaican art world and late in life he acquired a small but enthusiastic following of collectors.
Wilfred Francis at his Kingston home and studio in 2006 (photo: Veerle Poupeye)
Maurice Facey at the National Gallery’s 10th anniversary celebrations in 1984
The National Gallery of Jamaica deeply regrets the passing of the Hon. Maurice Facey, O.J. and pays tribute to him as a man of vision and effective action, who played a crucial role in the establishment and development of the National Gallery and was its founding Chairman.
A leading entrepreneur and developer of the post-Independence period in Jamaica, Maurice Facey was active in the fields of real estate development, life insurance, banking, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture and was the Chairman of the Pan Jam group of companies for some forty-five years. The National Gallery’s current Chairman, Peter Reid lauded Mr Facey as “a pioneer of development in Jamaica, whose many contributions include some of the Nation’s most iconic buildings”, including the Scotiabank Centre, which is now a defining part of the Downtown Kingston skyline. Maurice Facey was a passionate advocate for urban renewal and also chaired the Kingston Restoration Company. He received many honours and awards for his contributions to national development, including the Order of Jamaica.
Maurice Facey at the National Gallery at Devon House, circa 1974
Maurice Facey was a significant patron and champion of the arts in Jamaica. He chaired the committee established by Prime Minister Michael Manley to establish a National Gallery and subsequently, from 1974 to 1977, chaired the National Gallery of Jamaica’s first Board. He was again named Chairman in 1980 and continued to serve in this capacity until 1992, after which he served on the Board for an additional seven years. Under Mr Facey’s leadership, the National Gallery secured its first home at Devon House and relocated in 1982 to its current building in Downtown Kingston. His tenure was also characterized by particularly rapid growth for the National Gallery, with the establishment of its permanent galleries and the expansion of its collections and programmes. Continue reading
The National Gallery of Jamaica deeply regrets to announce that the master sculptor Fitzroy (Fitz) Harrack has passed away on January 10, 2013.
Born in 1945 in St John’s, Grenada, Harrack received his early artistic training in Grenada and then Trinidad before attending the Jamaica School of Art (later Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts) on a scholarship. Upon his graduation in 1969, Harrack settled in Jamaica and began exhibiting in group and solo shows at well-known venues such as the Bolivar Gallery and the Institute of Jamaica. He was a regular exhibitor at the National Gallery of Jamaica where he participated as an invited artist in the Annual National exhibition and subsequently, the National Biennial. He was one of the artists selected for the prestigious Jamaican Art 1922-1982 exhibition, a major survey of modern Jamaican art which was toured in the USA, Canada and Haiti 1983 to 1985 by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. He most recently exhibited at the National Gallery in the 2008 National Biennial, to which he contributed a metal mask, and in the inaugural exhibition of the Guy McIntosh Donation, which included a major, untitled and undated abstract carving.
Fitz Harrack – The Disadvantaged (1973), Collection: NGJ
Petrine Archer-Straw – From the Magic Carpet Series (1987), Collection: NGJ, The Guy McIntosh Donation
The National Gallery of Jamaica deeply regrets the passing of Dr Petrine Archer-Straw, Jamaican art historian, curator, critic and educator. Dr Archer-Straw was a past Board and and a past staff member of the National Gallery.
Petrine Archer-Straw was born in Birmingham, England, to Jamaican parents, and her family moved back to Jamaica in the early 1970s. A graduate of the University of the West Indies-Mona and the Jamaica School of Art (now part of the Edna Manley College), she joined the Education Department staff of the National Gallery in 1983 and thus started what would become a distinguished international career as an art historian and curator. Petrine Archer-Straw was instrumental in developing the Education department’s lecture, panel discussion and film screening programmes and her input helped to turn the department into a lively center for discussion and research. One of her key contributions was a series of lectures on masterpieces from the National Gallery collection, such as Barrington Watson’s Mother and Child and Christopher Gonzales’ Homage to Bob Marley, which derived from her extensive research on these works of art, the artists, and their context.
Petrine Archer-Straw at a National Gallery function, circa 1997
After completing an M.Phil. in History at the University of the West Indies, which she did while working at the National Gallery, Petrine Archer-Straw continued her post-graduate studies in Art History at the prestigious Courtauld Institute, University of London, where she earned her Ph.D. in 1995. She was also a certified appraiser (New York University, 2010) and an Associate of the Appraisers Association of America. Continue reading