Art A[u]ction for Haiti – Press Release

John Dunkley, Three Spanish Jars (n.d.)

The Art A[u]ction for Haiti Committee, in association with the Edna Manley Foundation, the National Gallery of Jamaica, Hi-Qo Galleries, Harmony Hall, the Mutual Gallery and Art Centre, and Roktowa, is pleased to present: Art A[u]ction for Haiti, a fundraiser to assist with the recovery of the Haitian art world.

This collaborative effort is the initiative of concerned members of the Jamaican Art community who are responding to not only the physical devastation of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on the 12th of January 2010 but also to the cultural and economic losses. Many are aware of the physical destruction and loss of life that occurred as there has been widespread coverage in the media. There has however been very little coverage on the devastation to Haiti’s cultural sector.

The Haitian art world suffered great losses in the earthquake. Museums and art galleries were extensively damaged, among them Port-au-Prince’s historic Centre d’Art, which in the mid 20th century launched Haitian art into the international arena, which was completely destroyed. The Haitian art collection at the College de Saint Pierre was also devastated, as were the famous murals of the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The devastation has also affected the artists’ collectives of the Haitian capital, most of which operate in the inner-cities and provide much-needed income for the artists and their communities.

Ceramic Vessel by Michael Layne

Michael Layne, Green Signature (2010)

In Jamaica, much effort has already gone into providing support to the emergency response in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. The focus now needs to shift to the long term economic and infrastructural recovery for Haiti. As stakeholders in the Jamaican art world, we feel compelled to assist the Haitian artistic community with its recovery. The proceeds of this benefit sale and auction will therefore support the reconstruction and revival of the Centre d’Art, and the sculptors’ collective of the Grand Rue inner city community, which had in December 2009 hosted the Ghetto Biennale in which Jamaica’s Ebony Patterson participated. A portion of the proceeds will also go the upcoming residency of nine Haitian artists, including three Grand Rue sculptors, at the Roktowa studio facility in West Kingston.

Our Haiti benefit will take the form of an art sale and auction to be conducted by the Edna Manley Foundation and hosted by the National Gallery of Jamaica. The auction and sale include a variety of art works, including several Haitian pieces and Jamaican work by artists ranging from Edna Manley College students to some of Jamaica’s best known masters, in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, ceramic and photography. Among the highlights of the auction are important paintings by Sidney McLaren, Carl Abrahams, Albert Huie and Colin Garland and a rare John Dunkley.

The sale and auction preview will take place at the National Gallery from April 14 to 18, during the Gallery’s regular opening hours (10 am to 4:30 pm from Tuesdays to Thursdays, 10 am to 4 pm on Fridays, and 10 am to 3 pm on Saturdays). The actual auction will take place on Sunday April 18, starting at 3:00 pm. We look forward to your support of this very worthwhile initiative and to making a tangible contribution to Haiti’s recovery.

For more information about this fundraiser, please contact the National Gallery of Jamaica at 922-1561 or -3; 618-0654 or -5; or at The auction catalogue will be posted to this blog early next week.

Sidney McLaren, Queen Street, Morant Bay (n.d.)

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