Here is the second citation from this year’s Musgrave Awards, this time regarding Jasmine Thomas-Girvan‘s Silver Musgrave Medal:
“The Institute of Jamaica recognizes Jasmine Thomas-Girvan for outstanding merit in the field of Art.”
“The jeweller and metal-smith Jasmine Thomas-Girvan was born in Jamaica and presently lives in Trinidad and Tobago. She attended the Parsons School of Design in New York, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewellery and Textile Design. Whilst at Parsons, Thomas-Girvan was awarded the Tiffany Honour Award for Excellence. In 1996 she was the recipient of a Commonwealth Foundation Arts award and in 2012 she was the recipient of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Aaron Matalon Award, as the artist who made the most outstanding contribution to that year’s National Biennial. Her mixed media installation, Dreaming Backwards, which was exhibited in the 2012 Biennial, was subsequently acquired for the National Art Collection.”
“Thomas-Girvan has made a number of public commissions, one of which was presented to the Queen of England. Her work has been exhibited in the United States of America, Jamaica, Trinidad, Venezuela, and Mexico and has been featured in publications such as Accessories Magazine, Skywritings, Shabeau, ARC Magazine, and Caribbean Beat.”
“While she is still best known as a jeweller, Jasmine’s recent work has moved into the realm of larger mixed media sculpture and installations. With its exquisite juxtaposition of found and hand-crafted objects and surreal hybridization of human and animal forms, her work relies on the combined poetic resonance of image, object and material, and it often exists in dialogue with literary sources. These include Olive Senior’s Gardening in the Tropics, which provided the inspiration for a body of work shown at the Medulla Gallery in Port of Spain in 2012, and Octavio Paz’ Sonnet on Death, which was referenced in her award-winning Dreaming Backwards. These works reflect poetically – and ironically – on the human condition, history and current events, with specific reference to the Caribbean, and they invite multiple layers of interpretation. While the image of the man rowing against the forward-moving forces of the world in Dreaming Backwards may seem like a symbol of human futility, for instance, it is in effect a hopeful image of self-discovery and reconciliation.”
“Thomas-Girvan also takes inspiration from dance, music, and theatre; from Carnival and masquerade traditions; and perhaps most of all from nature. She is an avid gardener and her personal experience of nature is central to her artistic process, which she describes as follows: ‘For me, the process is intuitive. It begins to take shape through sketches that might immediately be made into a preliminary model, or sit and hibernate on a shelf as a mystery for a year or two and then suddenly spring to life with vigour and crystallise in a flash. My pieces echo their organic origins. I am intrigued by the poetry in Nature and attempt to capture the elemental and ephemeral beauty and rhythms thriving in the organic world. I have always regarded Nature as a teacher and guide that constantly sharpens my senses.’ Jasmine Thomas-Girvan’s work is intimately connected with the Caribbean life-world, natural and manmade, and speaks eloquently and with uncanny beauty about the historical and contemporary Caribbean experience.
“As the Bajan artist and critic Annalee Davis argues, it ‘challenges us to question our understanding of what is actual, factual, bona fide, real. It says that no matter what hell we go through on earth, while here, we can transcend the challenges with which we have been blessed and become who we really are – beings who can soar above the macabre and into the sublime. We cannot have one without the other.’”
“For her contribution to Art, the Council of the Institute of Jamaica is pleased to award Jasmine Thomas-Girvan the Silver Musgrave Medal for outstanding merit in the field.”