Jamaica Biennial 2014 – Meet the Team!

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The Jamaica Biennial 2014 is managed by a small but hardworking team, that consists mainly of permanent NGJ staff but also includes special project staff and a varied corps of volunteers. In this post, we introduce the members of the curatorial team, presented in alphabetical order:

Monique Barnett-Davidson is the acting Assistant Curator in the Education Department, National Gallery of Jamaica. Her duties include providing lead supervision and coordination for gallery-based education programmes and research activities as well as contributing to the execution of curatorial projects. She supervises the provision of as well as conducts guided tours of the National Gallery and contributes research-based articles to the National Gallery’s online blog space. Prior to joining the Gallery, Barnett-Davidson attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in 2007. She also gained experience in art education as a design arts and visual arts teacher for three years at the secondary school level and worked with the Multicare Foundation as an art tutor for four years. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Heritage Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

Cristal Clayton is a graduate of the Mico University College where she studied Visual Arts Education. During Cristal’s third year of study she interned for a semester at the National Gallery of Jamaica where she assisted the curatorial staff to set up the Barrington Watson’s Retrospective exhibition, during this period she became familiar with the rudiments of exhibition design and display. She currently works as Curatorial Assistant at the National Gallery of Jamaica, with duties such as conducting tours, research assistance and exhibition set up, she is also an assistant coordinator for the Saturday Art Time program. As recreation Cristal enjoys singing and doing ceramics works with particular interest in creating functional and decorative household pieces. She is also a youth leader for her church organization and deeply involved in outreach and evangelism.

O’Neil Lawrence received a BA in English Literature and Sociology from the University of the West Indies (Mona) and a Diploma in Visual Communication from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. He is an M.Phil. student in Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies (Mona) and his research interests include race, gender and sexuality in Caribbean and African Diasporal art and visual culture. He is also an artist who has been exhibiting his photography locally and internationally since 2004. O’Neil Lawrence is acting as Senior Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica, where he has worked on exhibitions such as Natural Histories (2013), New Roots (2013), Religion and Spirituality (2013-2014), and In Retrospect: 40 Years of the National Gallery of Jamaica (2014). He also has curatorial oversight of the National Gallery’s new Montego Bay branch, National Gallery West.

Dwayne Lyttle is a graduate of the St Josephs Teachers College where he completed studies in Primary Education. His professional interests are located in the fields of culture, education, communication and the arts and he generally recreates with cooking, hobbies and entertaining conversation. At present, he is employed to the National Gallery of Jamaica, where, as a curatorial assistant he organizes and conducts tours, assists with research and documentation, develops educational programmes and teaches an art class which forms part of the Gallery’s Saturday Art-Time programme. Within these classes, which he teaches to children 8- 11 years old, “Uncle Dwayne” as he is affectionately called, instructs his students in the use of various picture making and sculpture making techniques. In addition, he also facilitates activities which help the students to critically view, think and talk about their work and a variety of works in the collection of the National Gallery of Jamaica.

Veerle Poupeye is a Kingston, Jamaica-based art historian and curator specialized in Caribbean art. She was educated at the Universiteit Gent in Belgium (BA and MA in Art History) and Emory University in Atlanta (PhD in Cultural Studies and Art History). She has published widely on Jamaican and Caribbean art and culture, including the book Caribbean Art (1998), and has curated exhibitions on various aspects of Jamaican art and cultural history. She has worked at the National Gallery of Jamaica, the MultiCare Foundation and at the Edna Manley College, where she was the Curator of the CAG[e] gallery. She has also taught Art History, Visual Studies and Curatorial Studies at the Edna Manley College and the University of the West Indies, both in Kingston, Jamaica, and at Emory University and New York University. She is currently the Executive Director of the National Gallery of Jamaica and she is the team leader for the Jamaica Biennial 2014.

Joelle Salkey is a recent graduate of the St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Art, in St Petersburg, Russia, were she completed her masters degree in Museology and Protection of objects of culture and natural heritage. She is also a graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where she earned her BFA in Painting. Joelle has received training as a conservator for paintings and murals, and has worked on restoration projects throughout the island. She is currently assisting the National Gallery of Jamaica as Executive Assistant.

Roxanne Silent has been employed to the Gallery since 1995. She holds qualifications in Business Administration, Supervisory Management, Art History, Museum related skills and Records & Archival Management. Roxanne did training in Archival Management in China and is now working on completing a Masters Degree in Heritage Studies. She started out as an Administrative Assistant in 1995 and over the years has assumed many roles within the organization including Director of Administration & Development and graphic artist, producing NGJ publications from 1996 to the mid-2000s. Since 2000 she has been the Records & Information Manager/Registrar, a post which documents and research all works of art in the National Collection as well as co-ordinates the movement of all works of art which the Gallery deals with. Extremely reserved, she is an avid reader, music and movie/documentary lover and has extensive collections in these areas. She is also well known as a great hostess and events planner, for her great culinary skills and ‘dry’ sense of humour.

Nicole Smythe-Johnson is a curator and writer from Kingston, Jamaica. She holds an MA in Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies from the University of Leeds in England. In 2013 she completed her tenure as Senior Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica, where she co-curated the Natural Histories exhibition and worked on the New Roots exhibition of 10 emerging artists. In May 2014 she curated Float, an exhibition of Caribbean artists presented by Jamaica-based art initiative New Local Space (NLS) at the Transformer Gallery in Washington DC. Most recently, she curated the Trajectories exhibition (July 2014), which featured a selection of works from the Myers Fletcher and Gordon Collection in conversation with the works of six contemporary Jamaican artists. She has joined the Jamaica Biennial 2014 team as Project Manager.

Shanel Stephens was born in 1992 in Lucea, Hanover where she has lived all her life. She is a past student of the Rusea’s High School and Sixth Form, where she held several post including head girl. She subsequently attended the University of the West Indies – Mona where she successfully completed the Bachelor of Art degree in History and Heritage, with a minor in Gender and Development studies. She has a strong interest in the arts and currently holds the post of Curatorial Assistant at the National Gallery West, at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.

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