The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programme for April 30, 2017 will feature the Jamaica Biennial 2017 exhibition and a screening of the film documentary, Shashamane, On the Trail of The Promised Land.
The film explores the narratives of a number of settlers of African-descent from across the world, who have been living in Shashamane – a 200-hectare plot of land in Ethiopia, located 250 km south of Addis Ababa. The land was donated to all blacks in the world by the Emperor of Ethiopia Hailé Selassie in 1950. Ras Mweya Masimba is one of the key characters in the film, he moved to Shashamane in 1990. He is an English-born artist of Jamaican origins who depicts the deeds of his people in his animated films. Today African descendants from around the world — France, Jamaica, the United States, the United Kingdom, and various Caribbean islands – live in Shashamane. All of them were motivated by the desire for self-affirmation, after centuries of humiliation, and a longing to bring up their children in a nurturing context devoid of racism, making of tangible reality of the famous “Exodus” sung by Bob Marley.
The director of Shashamane, On the Trail of The Promised Land, Guilia Amati is an Italian-French filmmaker. She has directed several ads and commercials for corporations, NGOs and International organizations such as the FAO and Caritas International. In 2010 she co-directed, with Stephen Natanson, the feature-length documentary This Is My Land…Hebron, which won more than twenty awards, including the Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival, the Festival International du Film des Droits de l’Homme de Paris, the Buenos Aires Human Rights Film Festival, and the Italian foreign press association’s Golden Globe Prize. The film also earned a special mention at the Nastri D’Argento, where it was a finalist for the David di Donatello Award and was selected by the Human Rights Watch Film Festival for their festivals in London, New York and Chicago. Shashamane is Amati’s second feature-length film.
Visitors will also be able to view the critically acclaimed Jamaica Biennial 2017 exhibition, which opened with a series of events from February 24 to 26 and continues until May 28 at three locations, the National Gallery of Jamaica itself, Devon House in New Kingston and National Gallery West in Montego Bay. The exhibition features the work of more than 90 artists in a variety of media and styles, including that of six international invitees – David Gumbs, Andrea Chung, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Raquel Paiewonsky, Marcel Pinas, and Nadia Huggins – and also features two special tributes to noted Jamaican artists — the painter Alexander Cooper and the late photographer and videographer Peter Dean Rickards.
The National Gallery of Jamaica’s doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm on Sunday, April 30, 2017 and the film will start at 1:30 pm. As is customary for Last Sundays, admission will be free at the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Downtown Kingston location, and there will also be free tours of the exhibition. The Devon House location will also be exceptionally open from 11 am to 4 pm on April 30 and National Gallery West will as usual be open from 9 am to 5 pm. Regular admission rates will apply at both National Gallery West and at Devon House.