Global Conversations Series: The Legacy of Okwui Enwezor

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) would like to announce that the final episode of its Global Conversations Series entitled The Legacy of Okwui Enwezor has been rescheduled for Friday, May 14, 2021 at 12 noon. Moderated by Annie Paul, the panellists will include Mark Nash, Isaac Julien and Ute Meta Bauer. The discussion will be held live on the NGJ’s YouTube channel and will include a 30 minute segment for audience participation. 

The Legacy of Okwui Enwezor

A titan who bestrode the global artworld, Okwui Enwezor famously altered its contours with his magisterial Documenta11. This panel brings together four participants of Documenta11: 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 in New York and the current Documenta Platform 6 project memorializing Enwezor. The conversation will include Documenta11’s Créolité and Creolization platform, in which all four panelists participated. Attendees are invited to look at Platform 6 and Isaac Julien’s film, Paradise Omeros, in preparation for this panel. 

Annie Paul

Annie Paul is a writer and critic based at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she is head of the Publications Section at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies. She is on the board of the National Gallery of Jamaica and has published extensively on art. In 2020 she published a biography of Stuart Hall in UWI Press’s Caribbean Biography Series. Editor-in-chief of the new online magazine of writing PREE and a founding editor of  Small Axe. She has been published in international journals, magazines and a range of art books and catalogues. Paul is the author of the blog Active Voice.

Mark Nash

Mark Nash is a distinguished independent curator, film historian and filmmaker with a specialization in contemporary fine art moving image practices, avant-garde and world cinema. He holds a PhD from Middlesex University and an MA from Cambridge University. He is currently a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he founded the Isaac Julien Lab with his partner and long-time collaborator, Isaac Julien.

As a curator, Mark Nash has frequently collaborated with Isaac Julien on numerous film and art projects. He also collaborated regularly with the late Okwui Enwezor, including on documenta11. More recently, he curated moving image exhibitions Viva L’Italia at the Museo Civico Archeologico (2017) and The Coming Community (2018) both for Artefiera Bologna.

Isaac Julien

Filmmaker and installation artist, Isaac Julien CBE RA, was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. His multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. His 1989 documentary-drama exploring author Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance titled Looking for Langston garnered him a cult following while his 1991 debut feature Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival. In the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale (2015), curated by Okwui Enwezor, he presented Kapital and directed Das Kapital Oratorio. He has also presented in documenta11, Kassel (2002).

Ute Meta Bauer

Ute Meta Bauer is a curator of contemporary art, film, video and sound that connect artistic work with other disciplines. Since 2013, Bauer has served as Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art (NTU CCA) Singapore and as a professor in the NTU School of Art, Design and Media. At the NTU CCA Singapore, Bauer has curated and co-curated The Posthuman City: Climates. Habitats. Environments (2019–2020), Siah Armajani: Spaces for the Public. Spaces for Democracy (2019) and Trees of Life: Knowledge in Material (2018) among many others. She was also co-curator of documenta11, Kassel (2002).

She is a member of various advisory boards, including the International Board of the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; Bergen Assembly, Bergen, Norway and the documenta commission, Kassel.

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Global Conversations Series: The Biennial and its Others

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) presents the third episode in the Global Conversations Series entitled The Biennial and its Others on Friday, April 30 2021 at 12 noon. Moderated by Amanda Coulson, the panellists will include Bonaventure Ndikung, Zak Ové and David Scott. The discussion will be held live on the NGJ’s YouTube channel and will include a 30 minute segment for audience participation. 

The Biennial and its Others

The venerable biennial model has become and remained de rigeur for transnational exhibitions of art. But are other models emerging in the 21st century? This conversation will be a frank discussion of the pros and cons of large-scale art spectacles in an era when audiences are far-flung and socially distanced.

Amanda Coulson

Amanda Coulson is the outgoing Executive Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). She has worked as a scholar, critic, curator and cultural producer, having collaborated with artists and institutions, as well as private and corporate colleagues both regionally and internationally. Prior to her post at NAGB, Coulson was a co-founder of the VOLTA contemporary art fairs where she focused on increasing international awareness of the contemporary Caribbean art scene, expanding the scope of the institution and building strong inter-island and international networks. She served on the Davidoff Art Initiative (now the Caribbean Art Initiative) Board from 2012-2018 and currently serves on the Board of the Museums Association of the Caribbean (MAC).

Bonaventure Ndikung

Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung is an independent curator, author and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and the artistic director of sonsbeek 20–24, a quadrennial contemporary art exhibition in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Ndikung was the curator-at-large for Adam Szymczyk’s Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany (2017); a guest curator of the Dak’Art biennale in Dakar, Senegal (2018); and the artistic director of the 12th Bamako Encounters photography biennial in Mali (2019). Alongside the Miracle Workers Collective, he curated the Finland Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2019). He is currently a professor in the Spatial Strategies MA program at the Weissensee Academy of Art, Berlin and is a recipient of the first OCAD University International Curators Residency fellowship in Toronto, 2020. 

Zak Ové

Zak Ové is a London based multi-disciplinary artist working in film, sculpture and photography to reclaim old world mythologies in new world source materials and technologies. His fascination with the interplay between antiquity and the future is inspired by masking rituals and traditions of Trinidadian carnival that is itself rooted in a struggle for emancipation. His use of non-traditional materials: copper, wood, Victoriana and other found materials, situates the work in the metropoles of Europe and the Americas where they merge and mutate into endless possibilities and unexpected identities.

David Scott

David Scott is the Ruth and William Lubic Professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of Formations of Ritual: Colonial and Anthropological Discourses on the Sinhala Yaktovil (1994), Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality (1999), Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (2004), Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (2014), and Stuart Hall’s Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity (2017). Scott is also the founder and editor of the journal Small Axe, and director of the Small Axe Project. He is also the curatorial director of the exhibition, the Visual Life of Social Affliction, and the forthcoming Kingston Biennial, 2021.

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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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