On this glorious, sun-filled Christmas morning, we would like to invite you to reflect for a moment on the rich cultural significance of the Holiday Season and Jamaican traditions such as Jonkonnu and Grand Market. Christmas-time activities have been a source of inspiration for many artists in Jamaica, starting with Isaac Mendes Belisario’s Sketches of Character (1837-38), which depicted Jonkonnu and related masquerades during the Emancipation period.
Christmas is traditionally spent with family and for us at the National Gallery the Holiday Season is normally a busy period, with many persons visiting, often in the company of family members. This includes members of the Jamaican Diaspora who are visiting for the Holidays – we welcome them home and are delighted that many use the opportunity to reconnect with their Jamaican heritage.
We have a lot to offer this Holiday Season. In Kingston, we have the Explorations IV: Masculinities and Recent Acquisitions exhibitions and, of course, our permanent exhibitions, which include Belisario’s Sketches of Character. Our Last Sundays programme for this month is on Sunday, December 27 and features what is now an annual Holiday tradition: a performance by Nexus Performing Arts Company. This year’s performance will consist of a set inspired by the Masculinities exhibition and takes the form of a musical gallery tour. Doors are open from 11 am to 4 pm and the performance starts at 1:30 pm. Admission is, as always, free on Last Sundays.
At National Gallery West in Montego Bay, we have on view Seven Women Artists, a smaller but equally engaging version of the exhibition we showed in Kingston earlier this year.
Our Holiday Season Opening Hours are as follows:
National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston: we will be closed for the following public holidays: Christmas, Friday, December 25; Boxing Day: Saturday, December 26; New Year’s Day: Friday, January 1. Regular opening hours apply on the other days – Tuesday, December 29 to Thursdays, December 31, 10 am to 4:30 pm, Saturday, January 2, from 10 am to 3 pm. We will also be open on Sunday, December 27, from 11 am to 4 pm, for Last Sundays. Regular opening hours resume on Tuesday, January 5.
National Gallery West, Montego Bay: we will be closed on Christmas, Friday, December 25 to Monday, December 28 and also on New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1. Regular opening hours, 10 am to 6 pm, apply on December 29 to 31. Regular opening hours resume on Saturday, January 2 (Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm).
Make it an art- and culture-filled Holiday Season and visit us often in 2016! And of course we look forward to seeing you on Sunday, December 27, for the annual Nexus performance.
Wishing you and yours peace, love, happiness and prosperity for 2016 and a wonderful Holiday Season,
The National Gallery of Jamaica Team