Anything with Nothing: Ricky Culture

Ricky Culture - Shack (c2008, Three Mile) – Photo: Olivia McGilchrist

Ricky Culture – Shack (c2008, Three Mile)
– Photo: Olivia McGilchrist

Ricky culture is another artist in the Anything with Nothing exhibition. Here is a short feature on his work.

A Rastafarian artist based in Cockburn Gardens, Ricardo “Ricky Culture” Lawrence does a number of commissions in his community including memorial murals, and murals on bars, restaurants and community walls. His work is supported by King Alpha, a Rastafarian leader in Majesty Gardens who uses Ricky’s murals to help uplift his community. Many of Ricky’s works show his Rastafarian faith. For the Anything with Nothing exhibition he has painted an image of Judgement Day with Selassie’s horse trampling the Pope, a Country Scene and a set of Nyabinghi Drummers.

Ricky Culture - Judgement (2014, in exhibition) – Photo: Olivia McGilchrist

Ricky Culture – Judgement (2014, in exhibition) – Photo: Olivia McGilchrist

He said:

“…for years if someone dies I will do the mural on the wall or if you have any establishment that wants to publish their business I will do the graffiti – the works they do. So it’s a service I’ve been offering the area for many years now, you know. You know how it go in the ghetto you don’t have a job you have to try entrepreneurship – do you own ting. So give thanks for the Almighty that gave me a gift that I can move forward in this hard time of economic crisis – you see what mi a deal wid?

The art thing is a natural thing from birth. From a youth coming up in school I just draw up everything because I had the passion from early so it became my life, you know, it just becomes a part of me. It’s over 30 odd years now ’cause I’m in my 50s now…. So you see even the murals, they are very important to the individuals ’cause when them have their people dead and you draw a picture of the people and it preserves the history so that is one of the ting…”

 

Anything With Nothing: T. Earl Witter

T. Earl Witter and the members of the Rastafarian Community Development Movement

T. Earl Witter and the members of the Rastafarian Community Development Movement

T. Earl Witter is one of the ten artists in the Anything with Nothing exhibition. Here is a short feature on his work:

T. Earl Witter is the lead artist in a group called the Rastafarian Community Development Movement based in Parade Gardens. He has stopped painting memorial murals due to police pressure and a desire to present more positive role models and show his Rastafarian faith. He has done numerous commissions including for companies such as Digicel and the Catholic Church. For the exhibition he has painted portraits of Miss Lou and Bob Marley, a Rasta on a Donkey and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, a work depicting Selassie and three Rastafarian elders.

Witter and his collaborator Cebert told us:

“We have been painting all our life. We teamed up through the Rastafari Movement you know – we came together and start doing Rasta work – mainly Rasta mural and things. Always been fond of art, but in our time we never had much access to art school… We just paint on our own. We get good support from the community – most of the time the little ladies sponsor it, sponsor us… Sometime we do work for practically for nothing you know, ‘cause those people don’t really have any money but they still want the work so we just do it. They see the work and they love it. Our community is an impoverished community, nothing nah really gwaan. But people say they want something so we do it for them. It’s important to them. Why? It uplift their spirit in the ghetto parts to see the good work that can be done by us as Rasta.… Sometime you do some work and it’s like it’s only you or certain people in higher terms of spirituality that will understand what’s really going on.”

Anything with Nothing: Donovan “Danny Coxon” McLeod

Danny  Coxon - Sugar Minott (c2013, Lyndhurst Road) – Photo: LeRhone Webb)

Danny Coxon – Sugar Minott (c2013, Lyndhurst Road) – Photo: LeRhone Webb)

Donovan “Danny Coxon” McLeod is another of the artists featured in the Anything with Nothing exhibition. Originally from Matthews Lane, McLeod now lives and works at Sugar Minott’s studio. He paints memorial murals as well as commissions for the music industry and has done a large set of murals at Minott’s studios. Almost all of his memorial murals have been painted over by the police. His work varies from flat stylized paintings to carefully rendered realistic work. For the exhibition he has painted a number of reggae musicians, Sugar Minott, Denis Brown and Luciano.

Danny Coxon - Musicians (Lyndhurst Road) – Photo: LeRhone Webb

Danny Coxon – Musicians (Lyndhurst Road) – Photo: LeRhone Webb

Danny Coxon told us:

“Been an artist for almost 35 years now. It’s not been easy. I have to really work hard to really get to a standard, and I’m not really sure of how I really get to this stage because I haven’t done a lot of work…but I feel God’s inspiration allowed me to reach a standard acceptable to people.”

“I hope something can come out of this – I’ve been doing this thing here for how long? When I come and see some of the things in the Gallery it come in like me nah try – but the good man says not to compare yourself with others because you will become vain and bitter and have less interest in your own career.”

“My community is so poor I wouldn’t say I get commission to do work – when you say commissioned to do work it sounds like something substantial you know what I mean. Sometimes they want a wall to pretty up and I will do it for them. You can’t dictate the paint; paint is a thing that makes you learn patience. It doesn’t pay a lot of money and its hard work but I keep doing it because one of the reasons I am sure of is that nobody else in the area can do it as well as I can… That little pride in knowing that I’m the best. You know when you look around Denham Town you can find only two or three other men who can really put it together and to know that I’m one of them makes me feel good.”

 

Anything with Nothing: Dion Palmer “Sand”

Sand - small

Sand at his cook shop

Dion Palmer “Sand” is another of the ten artists in the Anything with Nothing exhibition. Here is a short feature on his work:

Palmer works out of a small cook shop near Parade and was one of the key artists to have emerged from Roktowa before its close. Often associated with the Intuitives, he does highly imaginative paintings and is the only artist in the exhibition to have previously shown his work at the National Gallery. For the exhibition he has produced five paintings whose subject matter varies from imaginary birds to a human head to a crocodile.

Sand said this about his work:

“Give thanks and praise. I and I man name Sand, that’s my artist name but my real name is Dion DaCosta Palmer you know. How did I get the name Sand – I used to carry sand from a nearby river. Artwork comes in like it grows in me because my step father used to do carving, chopping wood and things like to build sculptures, some great powerful lion. What inspires my work – pain and anger, war and judgement and fight – all of those things – my paintings show pure love and joy that come out of the Psalms. I just live art – it is dream I’m dreaming – art work comes from so far, so deep.”

Anything with Nothing: Cleaver Cunningham

 

Cleaver Cunningham - Donavan M. (c2010, Pembroke Hall) - photo: LeRhone Webb

Cleaver Cunningham – Donavan M. (c2010, Pembroke Hall) – photo: LeRhone Webb

 

Here is a feature on Cleaver Cunningham, one of the artists in the Anything with Nothing exhibition:

Based in Pembroke Hall, off Washington Boulevard, Cunningham paints memorial murals largely using airbrush. The portraits often include images of status objects owned or desired by the subjects of the murals. For the exhibition he is painting a number of car bonnets, with images including Miss Lou, Ananda Dean and an elderly woman.

Cleaver Cunningham - Miss Lou (2014, in exhibition) - photo: LeRhone Webb

Cleaver Cunningham – Miss Lou (2014, in exhibition) – photo: LeRhone Webb

He had the following to say:

“…been doing murals from I understand myself – ‘bout 14 – meaning I understand wrong from right. I had an uncle who was an artist that I followed up and down – I wash out the paint brush but I never really get to touch nothing. So him fly out and gone ah foreign so I decide to try it out and it work out myself. He was a paint brush artist. I ended up follow my girlfriend one day to go to a hair salon and I see an airbrush magazine, so from there I fall in love with it. I had an aunt in America and I begged her two airbrushes but when I got the airbrushes I didn’t know it worked with a compressor. So I was youth that loved to do the little stunts on the bicycle so I asked my mother for a compressor but it was too dear so I ended up having to sell the stunt bicycle and buy the compressor…”

Introducing: National Gallery West

Belisario_actor_boy_montego_bayNational Gallery West is the new, Montego Bay based extension of the National Gallery of Jamaica. It is part of the newly refurbished and rebranded Montego Bay Cultural Centre, which is housed in the historic Montego Bay Court House on Sam Sharpe Square and was previously known as the Montego Bay Civic Centre. In addition to National Gallery West, the Montego Bay Cultural Centre houses National Museum West (a branch of National Museum Jamaica, which is like the National Gallery a division of the Institute of Jamaica), a gift shop and a café, a large multi-purpose town hall, and outdoor performance space.

National Gallery West, which is located in the beautiful domed building at the back of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre complex, will offer four exhibitions per year. At least one of these will be curated specifically curated for National Gallery West, while most of the others will be related to exhibitions shown at the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston. Senior Curator O’Neil Lawrence has curatorial oversight over the exhibition programme. The inaugural exhibition, which will be on view from July 11 to August 331, 2014, is Religion and Spirituality in Jamaican Art, an abridged version of the Religion and Spirituality exhibition previously shown in Kingston, which features work by major Jamaican artists such as Carl Abrahams, Osmond Watson, Edna Manley, Albert Artwell, Everald and Clinton Brown, Eugene Hyde, Ralph Campbell, Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds, and Ebony G. Patterson.

The Montego Bay Cultural Centre, and National Gallery West, are scheduled to open officially on July 11, 2014 and will be open to the public thereafter. Opening hours are: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm (closed on Monday) and admission is free until September 30. For more information contact the National Gallery of Jamaica at 922-1561 or -63 (Lime), 618-0654 or -55 (Digicel). You can follow National Gallery West on Facebook and at the National Gallery West blog.

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