Interviews with the ten artists in Young Talent 2015 (August 30-November 14, 2015), National Gallery of Jamaica. Videography and director: Leevan Rainford; producer: Stephanie Channer.
The following was contributed by our Education Department:
In last few years, the NGJ Education Department has been quite keen on developing various innovative educational programmes, particularly during the summer period. Summer is always a good time to target programme formats to different groups, particularly within the demographic of youngsters aged eight years and older. This summer was particularly active, as we piloted some new approaches to our usual programming. Areas of special focus included more extensive community outreach as well as the utilization of the NGJ’s educational and research resources by our young stakeholders.
We began in early July, with our annual collaboration with the MultiCare Foundation’s Summer Art on the Waterfront programme, which has been ongoing since the 1990s. The workshops themselves were held at a location on Church Street, however, the coordinators scheduled two days in which the participants visited the NGJ and created artwork inspired by classics from the permanent collection.
Later that month, we collaborated with Paint Jamaica and the Parade Gardens community collective known as Life Yard, to hold the Fleet Street Summer Workshops from July 20 to 31. These workshops took place in Parade Gardens at 44 Fleet Street, in the vicinity of the remarkable Fleet Street murals, completed in 2014 under the Paint Jamaica programme. With their main task being the creation of designs for palette furniture built by the Life Yard family, it was a welcomed opportunity for the children in residence to engage in visual art activities within their community. The activities also included weekly yoga sessions, conducted by instructor Nadine McNeil a.k.a. The Universal Empress and President of the Jamaica Wrestling Federation, Kevin Wallen, both of whom graciously volunteered their time to the project. In the words of the Universal Empress:
It is a blessing whenever I am given an opportunity to share the gifts of yoga and mindfulness, especially with youth. Their level of attentiveness and absorption is truly a humble sight to behold… Having just completed my Kripalu Yoga in Schools training for which I received a full scholarship, my involvement with the camp was my way of paying it and playing it forward.
We ended the run of summer educational programmes with another project entitled Writivity, Journaling for CSEC, which was targeted to students preparing to sit Visual Arts examinations for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate. Held from August 10 to August 14, a group of energetic teenagers from different schools across Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine immersed themselves as young documenters and critics of art. Their activities focused on the development and submission of the reflective art journal, which is a requirement for all CSEC Visual Arts candidates.
It was a great summer for us indeed, with lots of laughter, sharing and learning. So as we gear up for September and beyond, we would like to thank the MultiCare Foundation, Paint Jamaica, the Life Yard family and the Caribbean Examinations Council office for helping us make these programmes a success. Special thanks also to yoga instructors Universal Empress and Kevin Wallen; Senior Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Marlon Williams; as well as one of our regular collaborators, artist and educator Dale Bedasse.
Most of all, we would like to extend a loud and excited THANK YOU to all the children who participated in these programmes and shared so much with us this summer. It was a truly enjoyable and inspiring experience for us and we look forward to bringing you even more exciting and value-filled offerings. P.S. Note to Parents and Guardians: You Are Next!
(Photographs National Gallery of Jamaica and courtesy of Sabriya Simon Photography)
Here is the last of our short posts on the artists in the Young Talent 2015 exhibition, which opens today, Sunday, August 30. Doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm. The function starts at 1:30 pm, and will feature a short documentary on the participating artists and a musical performance by Jah9. The exhibition continues until November 14.
Cosmo Whyte was born in St Andrew, Jamaica in 1982. He attended Bennington College in Vermont where he obtained his BFA, Maryland Institute College of Art for a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate and he graduated first in his class from the University of Michigan for his MFA. Cosmo Whyte is currently a professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
“Terra Incognita…The New World is the third term—the primal scene—where the fateful/fatal encounter was staged between Africa and the West…. stands for the endless ways which Caribbean people have been destined to migrate.” (Stuart Hall, Cultural Identity and Diaspora, 1994)
My current body of work explores postcolonial identity through the lens of tourism, diaspora, globalization and migration. Through the process of installations of drawings, photographs and sculpture, I argue for the re-examination of identity as not fixed, but liquid and in a constant state of flux. Taken in its entirety, my work is interested in probing the following question: How has identity, sense of placelessness, or presence been altered by dislocation?
The work in Young Talent 2015 argues that the modern condition is migratory and as vast numbers of people continue to cross borders (sometimes at great loss) the question of citizenship and home becomes increasingly complicated. I have approached this show as a testing ground to explore parallels that exist between the mass migration of West and East African through the Mediterranean into Europe and Haitians being forced to leave Dominican Republic. None of the work on display is didactic but it rather looks on the black body as it is situated in a specific historical context when it comes to borders, migration, death by water, and survival.
Here is another of our short posts on the artists in the Young Talent 2015 exhibition, which opens tomorrow, Sunday, August 30:
Avagay Osborne was born in 1990 in Manchester, Jamaica. She is a recent graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, where she attained a BFA in Painting. She lives in Manchester, Jamaica.
Self-recovery is the term applied to the process of healing, from general disturbances and trauma. Reflections on past experiences have provided a thematic substance to my work thus far. My work is a direct reflection, response and act of self-recovery from a series of personal events and near-traumatic experiences. I believe that though these experiences are personal they are also no doubt a part of overall human condition. My adolescent years were troubled and traumatic and at age 23, I went through another traumatic experience, I have endured some level of physical and emotional abuse during these periods and these traumatic experiences have influenced my works.
Here is another of our short posts on the artists in the Young Talent 2015 exhibition, which opens on Sunday, August 30:
Richard Nattoo was born 1993, in St Catherine, Jamaica. Nattoo currently attends the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica, where he is pursuing the Bachelors of Arts in Architectural Studies.
Exploration has always been a constant in my life, and an integral part of my art and artistic processes. I create in an attempt to capture and deconstruct the common feelings and emotions of everyday life, so that I can examine their inner workings. At its core, my work attempts to capture the feelings and emotions I experience and to translate them into the surreal spaces that we all inhabit within ourselves. The goal is to explore feelings and emotions on murky cerebral levels and to construct the tumultuous and beautiful inner world that resides within all of us. I call this inner world the Silent Echo and my exhibitions have been about exploring this rich and textured place. A variety of mediums such as pen and ink, watercolour and most recently glass have been employed. Each exhibition is a chapter of the journey deconstructed.
Here is the seventh of our short posts on the artists in the Young Talent 2015 exhibition, which opens on August 30:
Howard Myrie was born in 1982 in Cambridge, St James, Jamaica. He is a recent graduate of The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where he received his BFA in Painting. He currently resides in St James, Jamaica.
In Jamaican culture, the issue of homosexuality is a volatile and controversial topic, with persons on both side of the debate having fiery passions and each side being sure that their perspective is the correct one. My work seeks to engage in the discussion through a variety of media such as video installation that is text based, wood carving with graffiti elements, and text on glass. These media are used as a way of participating in the discourse, pointing to social ills and asking important questions that are worthy of attention, while allowing space for contemplation and reflection on personal attitudes. The Instrumentalist theory of art states that art should do more than being decorative or beautiful; art should be able to facilitate change and make society and the world we live in a better place.