Coming Up: Art’iT Children’s Art Exhibition Opens on June 22

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The National Gallery of Jamaica presents the second edition of Art’ iT – a selection of artworks produced by a number of children who are participants in the Saturday Art Time Programme. The exhibition is free to the public and will open on Saturday, June 22 at 11 a.m. in the Information Centre at the Urban Development Corporation, (Office Centre Building – 12 Ocean Boulevard).

Art’ iT is an expression which beckons the creative impulse to come forth and be reckoned with. As such, the artworks selected do not only reflect the children’s basic response to an assignment. They highlight, instead, the children’s unique responses to questions about their curiosities and the diverse urges of their developing imaginations.

Saturday Art Time started in 2009 and seeks to provide children with a set of organized activities, which encourages them to think critically and speak sensibly about works of art, particularly, works of art which form part of NGJ’s Collection. Since its inception, the works have been archived and in 2011 Art’ iT was launched as the first exhibition solely of children’s visual art works mounted by the National Gallery.

The Saturday Art Time programme seeks to develop the visual communication and art production skills of children, while providing them with opportunities to interact with peers of similar interest, who may be from different backgrounds.

“Within our workshops, children are provided with all the materials needed to produce both two-dimensional and three-dimensional art objects which may include drawings, paintings and a variety of sculptural forms,” stated Monique Barnett – Davidson, programme coordinator and curatorial assistant at NGJ. She also noted that during most of the workshops, the children practice at least one visual arts technique and/or produce a visual composition which represents an object, idea or theme. Once the works are completed, the children add them to their portfolios and these are later assessed by the coordinators of the programme. With this assessment, selections can be made from the works for possible archiving and mounting in exhibitions.

Presently, the Saturday Art Time programme accommodates a total of thirty children and the participants are organized into two age groups: one group for participants 8 – 11 years old and another group for participants 12 – 15 years.

Saturday Art Time is a series of art workshops conducted each Saturday at the National Gallery of Jamaica from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The exhibition will run until July 12th and available for viewing Mondays to Fridays 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Please join Saturday Art Time on Facebook and find out more about this and other child art programmes and events.

4 thoughts on “Coming Up: Art’iT Children’s Art Exhibition Opens on June 22

  1. Pingback: Jamaica: Children as Artists · Global Voices

  2. Pingback: Jamaica: Children as Artists | OccuWorld

  3. Greetings Ms. Barnett-Davidson,

    I am a Jamaican expat living in the USA (Washington, DC area), and a retired art educator (from elementary through postgraduate levels). I religiously follow the NGA’s activities via its blogs and came across your children’s workshop with its ensuing exhibition. Congratulations on the excellent outcomes!

    Here is a scenario: Whenever I began my courses, no matter what level, as a form of introduction, my first question to students was, “Where do you think we are?”
    The answer invariably was, “America!”
    “Where is that geographically?” I would ask.
    This would set up a reintroduction to the most elusive answer in the Americas… The “not knowing” were we are located on this planet. Americans tend to think that the US is a suburb of Europe and Jamaicans think that the island is a suburb of Africa. The Amerindian foundations of our hemisphere are often neglected.

    First of all, since my Jamaican education did not give me much information about my homeland, I became a “regionalist”. My intention was to begin art instruction with the homeland (and all of the things familiar to us). So, for my students, my introductory lesson was to inform them about the Americas, a topic still under-explored in the curriculum of most of our hemisphere’s, mainly Eurocentric, educational systems. My belief is that the “conquerors” never usually cared about the histories of the subjugated and it is our job to pursue the teaching about HOME. As an artist, my personal quest is to remediate my education with a knowledge of the indigenous Amerindian culture, history and philosophy. As a form of informing the public, my discoveries find their way into my sculptures, prints and lectures. With guidance, my students did the same. Interestingly, years ago, I educated myself about Africa through my Anansi stories. The result, my Anansesem comic strip that was published by the Gleaner Co. (See

    Question: Is there any push to provide Jamaican children with remediating knowledge of their island’s very early history?

    Since Jamaica is a part of the Americas, a topic for the children’s workshop could be on ( if already not done), for example, “Earliest Jamaican foods.”

    Example: An introduction to the art and foods of the Yamaye Taino — The guava berry got its name from the Taino god of the afterlife, Guayaba. He is represented by sculptural cemies and lives on the Island of Coabay with opias (duppies). His realm was a part of the duality of death and the sweetness (guava) of life. Opias, in the form of bats, the spirits of the departed, searched for the guava (i.e. sweetness of life) at night. This is why we see rat-bat bitten guavas on the ground, even in St Andrew. Guava is considered one of the “Power Fruits” and contains more vitamin C than oranges, etc, etc. There are many varieties of guava from the wild to the cultivated. It is also used to make a skin treatment, a jelly (singer Jonny Nash made a song called “Guava jelly”), sherbet, ice cream, juice, etc. All the sweetness of life that children love. When the students say “guava” they are using the Taino language of our sweet Jamaican homeland.

    I hope that you find this suggestion useful.
    Michael Auld

    • Thank you Michael, for your comments, question and suggestion!

      Interestingly enough, the National Gallery of Jamaica does own a small collection of Taino artefacts. So you’ve definitely given us something to look into for the child art programme, which will resume in September coming.

      It is a general rule for the child art workshops that the instructors reference elements of the National Collection (which invariably translate into depictions of Jamaican culture and history) to develop course outlines and lesson plans. In this year’s Art’ iT exhibition, we have included artworks from our Jamaican folklore assignment in which students were asked to re-contextualize or re-tell traditional understanding of characters such as River Mumma, et al. So your suggestion ties in very nicely with what we are currently trying to accomplish.

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