Work on the re-branded and re-conceptualized Jamaica Biennial, formerly the National Biennial, is progressing well and the exhibition is scheduled to open with a week of events from December 6 to 14, 2014.
As before, the exhibition comprises a juried section, which is open to all artists living in Jamaica and Jamaican artists and artists of immediate descent living elsewhere, and an invited section, which includes artists with a well-established record of exhibitions and critical response. In a departure from its previous, national focus and a first major step towards internationalizing the Biennial, a select number of international artists have also been invited to contribute special projects, namely Simon Fujiwara (UK/Japan), Renee Cox (Jamaica/USA), Richard Mark Rawlins (Trinidad), Sheena Rose (Barbados), Blue Curry (Bahamas/UK) and James Cooper (Bermuda). For the first time, also the Biennial is operating from more than one venue. In addition to the National Gallery of Jamaica in downtown Kingston, this will include National Gallery West in Montego Bay and Devon House in Kingston. The 2014 Biennial also involves a collaboration with the Edna Manley College on Simon Fujiwara’s project, which will be created at the College and transferred from there, in the context of a performance, to the National Gallery in downtown Kingston.
More information on the special projects, the opening week events, and what will be shown at each of the exhibition venue will be shared in future bulletins but in this first bulletin we are focusing on the juried section, for which entries are closing later today, October 17. Thus far, we have logged some 150 entries and we are expecting more by the close of day. The judging will be conducted this weekend and, as part of the reorganization of the Biennial, the entries to the juried section will from now on be adjudged by two international judges, who will bring a fresh perspective to the work submitted and who will also help to raise the international profile of the exhibition. For the 2014 edition, these judges are Diana Nawi and Sara Hermann, both well-respected curators and art historians with extensive regional and international experience.
Diana Nawi has served as associate curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) since 2012, where she recently organized a new presentation of Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, curated by Elvis Fuentes. In 2015, she will curate an exhibition of recent work with Iman Issa and a mid-career survey with Nari Ward. Prior to joining PAMM, Nawi worked as assistant curator on the Abu Dhabi Project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. She was recently nominated for the biannual Independent Vision Curatorial Award, given out by Independent Curators International (ICI), which honours the work of up-and-coming curators.
Sara Hermann is the founder of the creative collaboration agency, Estudio del Sur, in the Dominican Republic. She has curated several exhibitions and written extensively on Dominican, Caribbean and Latin American Art. Sara was Visual Arts Specialist at the Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes (2005-2013), Director of the Museo de Arte Moderno (MAM) in Santo Domingo (2000-2005), and Coordinator of the Publications Department at MAM (1992-2000).
Artists who entered the juried section will be notified next week of the outcome. Works not selected should be collected immediately.