Last Sundays, May 31, 2015: featuring Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists, Tanya Shirley and Kelissa

Explorations 3 cover

The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present its new exhibition, Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists, which opens to the public on Sunday, May 31, 2015, as part of the Last Sundays programme for that day. The guest speaker will be Taynia Shirley and there will be a musical performance by Kelissa.

Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists, the third edition of a series of exhibitions that explore the big themes and issues in Jamaican art, asks the question whether any concept of women’s art is relevant in Jamaica today. This exhibition, which was curated by National Gallery Senior Curator O’Neil Lawrence, features the work of seven mid-career female artists who are based in Jamaica or of Jamaican origin and work in a variety of media: Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, Judith Salmon, Miriam Hinds-Smith, Prudence Lovell, Kereina Chang Fatt, Berette Macaulay and Amy Laskin. Viewers are invited to explore whether there are any commonalities that set these artists’ works and careers apart from those of their male counterparts and whether there is any justification to label them as “women artists.” Each of the featured artists has produced a statement on the subject that will be reproduced in the catalogue and the exhibition text panels. More information on this exhibition can be found on the National Gallery blog.

The poet-scholar Tanya Shirley has been described as “a startlingly bold writer with a particular gift for highlighting the telling detail in her vivid and arresting poems, which variously contain portraits of lovers, colourful eccentrics and family snapshots that capture the elusive magic of childhood memories, and reveal those paradoxical truths which all families strive to conceal.” She was educated at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she now teaches between time spent elsewhere in the Caribbean and the United States, and she obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. She has published her poetry in journals such as Small Axe and The Caribbean Writer, and in New Caribbean Poetry: An Anthology, which was edited by Kei Miller, and So Much Things to Say: 100 Calabash Poets. Her debut collection, She Who Sleeps With Bones, was published in 2009 and she recently launched her second poetry collection, The Merchant of Feathers.

Kelissa McDonald was born and raised in the hills of St Andrew, Jamaica and was inspired from early on by reggae and Rastafari. With her parents as the lead vocalists in the reggae band Chakula, there was constantly music pulsating from her home. Her music has evolved into an expression of her background as well her stimulating living experiences in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana. At the moment, Kelissa resides in Jamaica where she continues to make positive and conscious music as an avenue to express her diverse experiences and to inspire and uplift others.

Admission on Sunday, August 31, 2015 is free but donations are gratefully accepted. The doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm but the opening speech and musical performance will start at 1:30 pm. The National Gallery gift and coffee shop will be open. Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists will be on view at the National Gallery until August 8, 2015.

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