The installation of the Jamaica Biennial 2017 officially started on February 6 with the arrival of Laura Facey’s Ceiba, a giant double-sided drum carved from the trunk of a Cotton tree. Carrying this 30 feet long, multi-tonne art work into the gallery was a major feat, which required the temporary removal of the entrance doors and windows and the assistance of the Jamaica Defense Force, who carried the work manually into the gallery. Needless to say, it was an exciting and at times hair-raising spectacle, which was witnessed by many passers-by, but with the very efficient work of the JDF, the delivery and installation of this giant work of art was completed without incident. Ceiba will be part of the Biennial display in the central galleries, where it is already attracting significant attention, and will also be used for a performance at the main opening function on February 26.
The Jamaica Biennial 2017 will be shown at the NGJ and at Devon House in Kingston, and at National Gallery West in Montego Bay. We have again included special projects by Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora artists for this edition we invited Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Andrea Chung, David Gumbs, Nadia Huggins, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Raquel Paiewonsky, and Marcel Pinas. We have also added two tributes, to Alexander Cooper and the late Peter Dean Rickards. In addition to this, the exhibition includes work by invited Jamaican and Jamaican Diaspora artists, and work that was submitted to the juried part of the exhibition. In all, it will be a very diverse exhibition that features work in traditional and new media, and a wide variety of styles, approaches, and subject areas.
The Jamaica Biennial 2017 is, without exaggeration, the largest and most ambitious exhibition ever staged by the NGJ. For the juried section, we received 174 entries by 110 artists, of which 66 entries by 49 artists were selected by our panel of selectors. The invited section yielded 61 art works by 35 artists. The juried and invited sections combined thus consist of 127 works of art and this does not include the special projects and the works of art in the tributes, making it an even larger exhibition than the Jamaica Biennial 2014. Added to that, we have some two dozen installation proposals–the most we have ever received, as well as several exceptionally large works and digital art works that require significant amounts of technical support and specialized equipment. The installation of the Jamaica Biennial therefore comes with special technical and organizational challenges and there will inevitably be some disruption, as some galleries will be temporarily closed and some of the installation work will have to be done during opening hours and in public view. We apologize to our visitors for the inconvenience this may cause but trust that the sampling of works used to illustrate this short blog post will give them an idea of what awaits and why it is well worth waiting for.
The Jamaica Biennial 2017 will open with a series of event from Friday, February 24 to Sunday, February 26, 2017:
- Opening function – National Gallery West, David Gumbs’ Xing-Wang project: Friday, February 24 at 7 pm
- Main opening function – National Gallery of Jamaica: Sunday, February 26 at 1:30 pm (doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm)
These functions are free and open to the public. The Devon House opening on February 25 will be a private event.
The full Biennial will be on view at all three locations until May 28, 2017.
Regular opening hours at the NGJ:
- Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am to 4:30 pm
- Friday: 10 am to 4 pm
- Saturday: 10 am to 3 pm
- Last Sundays: every last Sunday of the month, open from 11 am to 4 pm, with entertainment at 1:30 pm
The NGJ is closed on Sundays, except for Last Sundays, and on Mondays. Further visitor info can be found here.
Regular opening hours at National Gallery West/Montego Bay Cultural Centre:
- Tuesday-Sunday: 9 am to 5 pm
National Gallery West is closed on Mondays and between exhibitions. More information on the Montego Bay Cultural Centre can be found here.
Regular opening hours at Devon House (Mansion tours):
- Monday-Friday: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Visitor information for Devon House can be found here.
Additional opening times will be announced during the course of the Biennial for some of the locations. Please follow us on Facebook @jamaicabiennial for this and any other information pertaining to the Biennial.