Last Sundays to Screen Short Film “Proscenium”

This Sunday April 25, 2021 the National Gallery of Jamaica’s virtual Last Sundays will feature a one-time screening of the Factory75 short film Proscenium followed by a discussion with the filmmaker Allison Harrison. The screening will take place on our YouTube channel at 1:30 pm and the discussion will be made available for future viewing.

The award winning 2015 short film Proscenium is a Jamaican thriller that follows a young violinist, Melissa, whose boyfriend Greg surprises her for her birthday with a trip to the long abandoned and iconic Ward Theatre in Downtown, Kingston. It was produced by Factory75 and has received the Audience Award for ‘Best Short Film’ at the first Jamaica Film Festival in 2015, was part of the selection for the 2015 Aruba Film Festival and was featured by the University of Missouri and RagTag Cinema in 2016.

Allison Harrison is a filmmaker and the Chief Creative at the video, motion picture and entertainment company Factory75. She attended Miami International University of Art and Design where she attained a BFA in Film and Digital Production Summa Cum Laude. Harrison was regularly featured on the President’s List and the Dean’s List and was awarded the Outstanding Acheivement Award in Film and Digital Production for 2010-2011.

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Global Conversations Series: The Post-Colonial Museum, Global Art and National Self-Definition

The National Gallery of Jamaica presents the second episode in the Global Conversations Series: The Post-Colonial Museum, Global Art and National Self-Definition on April 23, 2021 at 12 noon. The discussion will be moderated by our Chief Curator O’Neil Lawrence and our panellists will be art critic Kobena Mercer and art historian Partha Mitter. The discussion will be presented live on our YouTube channel, inclusive of a 30 minute segment for audience participation.

The Post-Colonial Museum, Global Art and National Self-Definition

What role should museums and national galleries play in the context of globalizing art worlds? What are the implications for national self-definition as diasporas grow? A look at problems of representation, neo-colonialism, competing nationalisms and their impact on art institutions today.

O’Neil Lawrence

An artist, curator, researcher and writer, Lawrence has worked at the National Gallery of Jamaica in various capacities since 2008 most recently as Chief Curator. He was the lead curator on the exhibitions Seven Women Artists (2015), Masculinities (2015), I Shall Return Again (2018) and Beyond Fashion (2018). His photography and video work have been included in several international exhibitions; most notably Rockstone and Bootheel (Real Art Ways, Connecticut, 2009), In Another Place and Here (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 2015), and his solo show Son of a Champion (Mutual Gallery, Kingston, 2012). His research interests include race, gender and sexuality in Caribbean and African Diasporal art and visual culture; memory, identity and hidden archives; photography as a medium and a social vehicle. Lawrence’s recent publications include Iconicity and Eroticism in the Photography of Archie Lindo in the anthology Beyond Homophobia: Centring LGBTQ Experiences in the Anglophone Caribbean, UWI Press (June 2020) and Through Archie Lindo’s Lens: Uncovering the Queer Subtext in Nationalist Jamaican Art in SX: 63, Duke University Press (Nov 2020). In 2018 he served on the Board of the Davidoff Art Initiative and he is currently on the Advisory Council of the Caribbean Art Initiative

Kobena Mercer

Kobena Mercer is Professor of History of Art and African American Studies at Yale University. His teaching and research centres around African American, Caribbean, and Black British art, bringing cultural studies methods to investigate modern and contemporary Black Atlantic worlds. He previously taught at New York University; Middlesex University, London; and University of California Santa Cruz. Mercer is the author of ground breaking essays in Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies (1994) and monographic studies on Isaac Julien, Keith Piper, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, James Van Der Zee, and Romare Bearden. He conceived and edited the Annotating Art’s Histories series, published by MIT, whose titles are Cosmopolitan Modernisms (2005), Discrepant Abstraction (2006), Pop Art and Vernacular Culture (2007) and Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers (2008). Mercer is an inaugural recipient of the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing, awarded by the Clark Art Institute in 2006. 

In addition to a survey of contemporary Black Atlantic artists in The Image of the Black in Western Art (2014), and his recent essay collection, Travel & See: Black Diaspora Art Practices since the 1980s (2016), Mercer edited and introduced Stuart Hall’s hitherto unpublished Du Bois Lectures, The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation (2017). Recent exhibition catalogue contributions include Wifredo Lam, Centre Pompidou; Frank Bowling, Haus der Kunst; Adrian Piper, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Theaster Gates, Tate Liverpool. Mercer’s forthcoming book is Alain Locke and the Visual Arts, published by Yale University Press in 2022.

Partha Mitter

Partha Mitter Hon. D. Lit. (Courtauld Institute, London University), FRSA, is a writer and art historian specialising in the reception of Indian art in the West; modernity, art and identity in India, and more recently global modernism. Mitter is an Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex, an Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University, Canada, a member of Wolfson College, Oxford and an Honorary Fellow of Victoria & Albert Museum, London. An avid scholar, he was a Junior Research Fellow at Churchill College (Cambridge 1968-9); a Research Fellow at Clare Hall (Cambridge 1970-74) and lectured at the University of Sussex from 1974-2002. He has also participated in a  number of visiting fellowships. 

Mitter’s publications include Much Maligned Monsters: History of European Reactions to Indian Art (1977; new ed. 2013); Art and Nationalism in Colonial India 1850-1922 (1994); Indian Art (2002) and The Triumph of Modernism: India’s Artists and the Avant-Garde – 1922-1947 (2007). He has also contributed many articles including ‘Interventions: Decentering Modernism: Art History and Avant-Garde Art from the Periphery’, Art Bulletin (Volume XC, Number 4 (December, 2008), 531-574; “Bauhaus in Kalkutta”, Annemarie Jaeggi, ed. Bauhaus Global: Gesammelte Beiträge der Konferenz Bauhaus Global (Bauhaus- Archiv, Berlin Gebr.Mann Verlag 2010), 149-158; and catalogue essay, “History, Memory and Anish Kapoor”, Anish Kapoor Past Present and Future, ed. Nicholas Baume, catalogue of the exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art , Boston, 30 May-7 Sept. 2008, 105-118.

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Global Conversations Series: Radical Art Practice in the 21st Century

The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present the first episode in our Global Conversations Series: Radical Art Practice in the 21st Century on April 16, 2021 at 12 noon Jamaican time. The panellists will be the talented artists Olu Oguibe, Ibrahima Mahama and Deborah Anzinger and the moderator is curator and educator Petrina Dacres. The discussion will be presented live on our YouTube channel, inclusive of a 30 minute segment for audience participation. A recap of the topic and participant bios follow:

Radical Art Practice in the 21st century

What constitutes radical art practice in the 21st century especially in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and a global pandemic? What new forms and formations of art-making can we envisage today? BLM as a social movement originated in the USA but resonates globally, with ‘Black’ serving as a signifier of multiple alterities. A discussion between boundary-pushing, award-winning artist Olu Oguibe, Ghanaian wunderkind Ibrahim Mahama and the artist and artworld builder, Deborah Anzinger.

Olu Oguibe

Olu Oguibe is a multi-media artist and writer whose work often straddles minimalist formalism and social engagement. His work has been widely exhibited in museum and gallery shows, as well as biennials and triennials. He has also created several public works in many countries. In 2017 his “Strangers and Refugees Monument”, a public sculpture in Kassel, Germany, received the Arnold Bode Preis for documenta14. Oguibe was Professor of Painting at University of Connecticut until 2017 when he resigned to devote his full time to art making.

Ibrahim Mahama

Ibrahim Mahama is a Ghanian artist. He often works with found objects, transforming them in his practice and giving them new meaning. Mahama is best known for his practice of draping buildings in old jute sacks, which he stitches together with a team of collaborators to create patchwork quilts. Of the practice, Mahama says, “I used jute sacks because for me the history of crisis and failure is absorbed into the material. Their history speaks of how global transactions and capitalist structures work. And because their humbleness contrasts with the monumentality of the buildings they cover.” He grew up in a polygamous family, and once noted that his collaborative nature could be a result of this unique environment.

Born in Tamale, Ghana in 1987, Mahama received his MFA in Painting and Sculpture from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi, Ghana in 2013. He lives and works in Tamale. Mahama was the youngest artist featured in the first Ghana Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, where he created a bunker-like space made out of the mesh used to smoke fish and filled it with references to Ghana’s history. Mahama has had multiple solo installations in Accra and Kumasi, as well as solo exhibitions in Dublin, Michigan, and at White Cube in London.

Deborah Anzinger

Deborah Anzinger is an artist and founder of New Local Space (NLS), Kingston, Jamaica. Anzinger works in painting, sculpture, video and sound to interrogate and reconfigure aesthetic syntax that relate us to land and gendered and raced bodies. Anzinger’s work was  the subject of a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia) and has been exhibited at Pérez Art Museum Miami; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, Brooklyn; National Art Gallery of the Bahamas; and National Gallery of Jamaica. Her work has been published in Small Axe Journal (Duke University Press), Caribbean Quarterly (Taylor & Francis), Bomb Magazine, Art Papers, The New Yorker and Artforum. Anzinger was recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and a fellowship to Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and is a 2020 Soros Arts Fellow.

Petrina Dacres

Petrina Dacres is a Curator and the Head of Art History at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Her teaching and research centers on African Diaspora Art, Caribbean Art, Public Sculpture and Memorials and Memory Studies. Her publications on public sculpture include,“Keeping Alive Before the People’s Eyes This Great Event’: Kingston’s Queen Victoria Monument,” “‘But Bogle a Bold Man’: Vision, History, and Power for a New Jamaica,” and “Monuments and Meaning.”

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Presenting the Global Conversations Series

(Please ignore the ‘EST’. All events are happening in Jamaican time.)

The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present the Global Conversations Series with its inaugural episode premiering on Friday April 16, 2021. Spanning four weeks, each episode will feature topical discourse between globally renowned artists, curators and thinkers. These discussions will be presented live on our YouTube channel and include a 30 minute segment for audience participation. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for notifications on the following series: 

WEEK 1: Radical Art Practice in the 21st century
April 16, 2021 | 12 noon to 1.30 pm
Participants: Olu Oguibe, Ibrahim Mahama, Deborah Anzinger
Moderator: Petrina Dacres 

What constitutes radical art practice in the 21st century especially in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and a global pandemic? What new forms and formations of art-making can we envisage today? BLM as a social movement originated in the USA but resonates globally, with ‘Black’ serving as a signifier of multiple alterities. A discussion between boundary-pushing, award-winning artist Olu Oguibe, Ghanaian wunderkind Ibrahim Mahama and the artist and artworld builder, Deborah Anzinger.

WEEK 2: The Post-Colonial Museum, Global Art and National Self-Definition
April 23, 2021 | 12 noon to 1.30 pm
Participants: Kobena Mercer, Partha Mitter
Moderator: O’Neil Lawrence

What role should museums and national galleries play in the context of globalizing art worlds? What are the implications for national self-definition as diasporas grow? A look at problems of representation, neo-colonialism, competing nationalisms and their impact on art institutions today. Eminent art critic Kobena Mercer in conversation with the author of Much Maligned Monsters, the celebrated art historian Partha Mitter. 

WEEK 3: The Biennial and its Others
April 30, 2021 | 12.00 pm to 1.30 pm
Participants: David Scott, Bonaventure Nkidung, Zak Ove
Moderator: Amanda Coulson

The venerable biennial model has become and remained de rigeur for transnational exhibitions of art. But are other models emerging in the 21st century? A frank discussion of the pros and cons of large-scale art spectacles in an era when audiences are far-flung and socially distanced between editor of Small Axe and curator of the forthcoming Kingston Biennial, David Scott;  founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary Berlin. Bonaventure Nkidung; and Zak Ové, artist extraordinaire and curator of Get Up, Stand Up Now. 

WEEK 4: The Legacy of Okwui Enwezor
May 7 2021 | 12 noon to 1.30 pm
Participants: Mark Nash, Isaac Julien, Ute Meta Bauer
Moderator: Annie Paul

A titan who bestrode the global artworld, Okwui Enwezor famously altered its contours with his magisterial Documenta11. This panel brings together two of Enwezor’s Documenta co-curators Mark Nash and Ute Meta Bauer as well as one of the featured artists, the celebrated film-maker Isaac Julien, to discuss the Grief and Grievance exhibition at the New Museum and the current Documenta project memorializing Enwezor. The conversation will include Documenta11’s Créolité and Creolization platform held in St Lucia and Julien’s film, Paradise Omeros. 

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Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Roots Percussionist

For our March virtual Last Sundays event the National Gallery of Jamaica will feature a performance by Roots Percussionist. The virtual programme will premiere on both our YouTube and IGTV platforms at 1:30pm on March 28, 2021.

A two-time Grammy Nominated musician, Hector “Roots Percussionist” Lewis is a Jamaican Percussionist, Drummer, Vocalist and Music Director. He is currently the background vocalist and percussionist for the world renowned Reggae band, Chronixx and Zincfence Redemption and is endorsed by Regal Drumsticks from the United States as well as Tycoon Percussion in Thailand.

His love for music began in his days at church in his hometown of Spanish Town. This was bolstered by his mother, the talented and legendary Barbara Jones, who had a major influence on his approach to music and the creative arts. It was this passion that led him to studying at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where he met his mentor the late percussionist, Denver “Feluke” Smith, and earned himself a degree in Music Education and Performance. 

Hector’s stage name “Roots Percussionist” is inspired by the organically produced sound deeply-rooted within all types of Indigenous music, which he honours in all performance forms. Central to his unique sound is Rastafarianism culture – the connection between past and present and the celebration of the human spiritual experience. Roots Percussionist believes in music’s ability to heal, connect and create a transcendental experience. His musical capabilities span several genres – including Latin, Reggae, African, Punk, Rock, Pop, Bouyon, Calypso and of course Dancehall – which he often fuses in his continuous explorations of music. He is also accomplished in several instruments, including; Bungos, differently pitched Congas, Tangerines, Cow Bells, Shakers, Bells, Chimes, Timpani and Xylophone.

Since 2016, Roots Percussionist has headlined global tours alongside the critically-acclaimed Chronixx & Zincfence Redemption. He has worked on percussion and background vocals on live and recorded productions for several popular artists such as Jesse Royal, Lila Ike, Beres Hammond, Jaz Elise and the Marley family. Roots Percussionist has also performed at the Essence Festival 2020, NPR Tiny Desk Series, BBC 1Xtra Series, 2020 edition of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival as well as his hosting duties for the annual “Roots Reggae Day”. He released his first single “Outlaw” in 2019, produced by Dretegs and featuring US-based artistes QNA and Royal Khaoz. His follow-up single, “LOVE SAVIOUR”, was released in May 2020 and his next single, “Did It Again” is now available on all major streaming platforms.

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In Memoriam, Milton Harley (1935-2021)

Milton Harley – Mayan 1, (c1976), Collection: NGJ

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) is saddened by the news of the passing of one of Jamaica’s respected art pioneers, Milton Harley, who died on January 1, 2021.

Born in Kingston, 1935, Dr Harley migrated to the United States of America (USA) where he attended the Pratt Institute in New York and attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In pursuit of a professional career in visual arts, Dr Harley attended art institutions (between 1959-1976) in USA, Spain, Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom, to perfect his skills in areas such as graphic design, philosophy (aesthetics) and sculpture. He later earned his Doctor of Philosophy (PH.D.) in 1985 at the Centre for Postgraduate Studies in Education and Research, Leicester Polytechnic, United Kingdom.

After his exceptional educational journey, Dr Harley began his duties as a teacher at over thirteen different art educational institutions in Jamaica, Canada and the United Kingdom. His accomplishments as an artist included five solo exhibitions in Jamaica, New York and Spain and seventeen major group exhibitions in Jamaica, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Spain and Brazil. Dr Harley is a true stalwart, and a significant part of Jamaica’s artistic legacy.

The NGJ’s Board of Directors, management and staff offer our sincere condolences to Dr Harley’s family and friends.

For further information on this esteemed visual artist, see the following link to an article written by Senior Curator at the NGJ, Monique Barnett-Davidson:

https://nationalgalleryofjamaica.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/jamaicas-art-pioneers-milton-harley-and-the-right-to-abstraction/