Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Tori-Lattore

On September 27, 2020, the National Gallery of Jamaica’s virtual Last Sundays will feature a musical performance by the singer Tori-Lattore as well as interview clips from the Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition opening. The video will premiere at 1:30pm on both our YouTube and Instagram pages.

Though petite in stature, Tori-Lattore stands tall on the shoulders of her powerful voice. With her smooth velvet tones and fiery delivery, she has mesmerized audiences near and far with her captivating stage presence. Tori started singing with the international performing arts company ASHE at a young age, and now hones her vocal craft and vibrant performance style at the distinguished Edna Manley College – Jamaica School of Music.

Despite her youth, Tori is becoming more recognized in music circles as a vocal powerhouse. She has provided background vocals both on stage and in recording sessions, for music stalwarts such as: Etana, Wayne Marshall, Chevaughn, Romain Virgo, Babycham, Jesse Royal, Notis Heavy Weight Rockaz and Agent Sasco. Tori is the lead female vocalist for the Ashe Company, where she has done numerous concerts, songs, dances and musical theatre productions. She is a triple-threat artist. With Ashe, she has performed for audiences Amsterdam, Trinidad, New York, South Africa and more. She is also a brilliant songwriter whose music is recorded by various artists. Now, as she branches out on her solo career, her sultry tones can be heard in her single “Goodbye.”

For more educational and entertaining content from the National Gallery of Jamaica subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on:-

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Hurricane Preparedness and Your Art

The Atlantic hurricane season begins annually on June 1st and continues until November 30. To date, the 2020 season has set a new precedent in terms of having the earliest forming storms and occurrence of two active storms in the region simultaneously – and we haven’t reached the peak of the season yet! Hurricanes and tropical storms are comprised of winds rotating around a low pressure centre, and are formed over warm waters. In the Caribbean, extreme winds, flooding and lightning strikes are common and in many cases cause significant threat to human life, property, and major infrastructure. Based on this once a storm threat has been identified, governments and businesses put strategies in place to manage the effects of these natural phenomena on their operations and hasten recovery.

In addition, museums and heritage institutions housing important cultural items have also developed disaster management plans for this annual storm season, which is composed of conservation and risk management methodologies. With the understanding that hurricane winds can escalate to speeds of more than 119 km/h as well as, the volume of water can increase 0.6 inches/665km radius, heritage 2 professionals apply that knowledge to build effective disaster prevention plans for their collections. Many plans, regardless of the institution, contain similar or general rules such as “never store artwork on the floor” in case of flooding or “avoid placing artwork near exposed windows” in case of water and wind damage. Equally, museums and heritage institutions tailor their disaster plans to the specific challenges that they face.

These methodologies provide the necessary framework for protection and preservation of our priceless tangible assets, and ensure their longevity for future generations to enjoy. 

So what measures can we use to protect our tangible cultural heritage? 

While it is difficult to plan for every possible outcome, conducting risk management assessments can go a long way in mitigating the amount of damage our cherished valuables receive. Much of this mitigation involves practicing preventive measures in light of the many “what if’s” that may trouble the mind, once a tropical storm announcement is made. With an extremely active hurricane season predicted for the remainder of 2020, the National Gallery of Jamaica would like to share some of our tips to help protect your art and valuables during this hurricane season. To assist your preparations, we’ve separated our checklist into two sections for your benefit, these are: Before and After. We invite you to read through and prepare appropriate to your needs.

  • Develop a hurricane preparedness plan for your artwork.
    • If one already exists, review to ensure information is accurate and up to date.
    • Ensure that individual/employee responsibilities are outlined in a clear and concise manner. Eg. In the event of a power failure, who is responsible for the operation of the generator?
  • Photograph all of your artwork and store the photos safely.
    • Take photos of their placement in their current placement and up close photos of artwork itself.
    • Take photos of the painted image (the face) along with the reverse (verso) of the work for comparison.
    • Be sure to label each photo appropriately and upload them to an online storage platform like google or one drive for safekeeping. You can email the photos to yourself as well.
    • If you prefer or do not have access to an online storage platform, you can store your images on a secondary storage device like an SD card or flash drive and store the physical devices in a waterproof location.
    • You may also print the photographs, if you prefer, but be sure to label and store them in a ziplock bag or waterproof location.
  • Record the condition of your works.
    • This should involve documenting the artist name, dimensions, and current condition of the work (good, fair, poor). Document everything associated with the work to the best of your ability.
    • If you are not sure what to do, contact a heritage professional or a conservator for advice.
  • Get an appraisal of your artwork. In the case where your collection carries significant value, get a certified art appraiser to give you an estimated value. Secure this documentation as it will be crucial for your insurance at a later date.
  • Identify the safest room in your home or business to store your art:
    • Ensure windows are sealed and watertight, that there are no leaks or weakened areas of the roof.
  • Remove art from the walls and store elevated from the floor (at least 3 ft):
    • If possible, stack paintings vertically from largest to smallest, ensuring the frames of the preceding and succeeding works rest comfortably on each other. If unframed, place a sheet of acid free tissue paper where edges of the work touch to mitigate sticking and paint loss.
  • Cover your art stack with a plastic sheeting or tarp:
    • Secure edges of the plastic sheeting at the same time allowing some air to pass under the sheet. It is essential that you do not create a microclimate which will encourage mold growth and moisture damage.
  • If possible, consider crating your art:
    • Building specialized art storage will go a long way in ensuring the safety of your collection.
  • In the case of outdoor sculptures consider building a support or securely anchoring the work with rope to a concrete beam:
    • Where possible avoid anchoring to the ground as the earth could become waterlogged.
  • Consult your disaster management plan.
    • Contact all those involved according to the tasks delegated in the plan.
  • Remove plastic sheeting, and relocate collection to a safe but brightly lit and ventilated area and conduct an inspection.
    • Use photographs taken before the event to determine any condition changes to the artworks.
    • If damage is identified contact a conservation professional or depending on the extent of the damage you can carry the work to a local framer for advice.
    • Be on guard for water or moisture damage around the fame and on the matte or linen liner if present.
  • Conduct a condition report.
    • Using the same format as the condition report documented before the event, note the current condition of the artwork. Document any changes noted during your inspection. If no changes are noted secure your condition report for future reference – it will be needed in the event of another Hurricane or Natural disaster.
  • Contact your insurance company and inform them of damage if present.
    • The conservator will provide you with a condition report which along with the appraisal should be handed over to our insurance company with your claim documentation.
  • If damage is superficial ( only to the frame for exterior parts of the work), lightly dust the artwork with a soft brush or microfibre cloth and return to the hanging position on the wall.
    • If this is not possible, return the artworks to the storage stack or to the crate until it is safe to display them.

1 Matthew Cappucci. (2020) “ Tropical storm Nana forms in Caribbean, could make landfall as hurricane in Belize. Omar forms off East Coast.” The Washington Post. September 1, 2020. URL:https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/09/01/tropical-storm-nana-nears-formation-caribbean-atlantic-hurricane-season-stays-unusually-active/ [September 2, 2020]

2 According to Meteorologist William M. Gray, former head of the Tropical Meteorology Project.

Kingston Biennial Update

The inaugural Kingston Biennial has been postponed until December 2021.

2020-08-24-Kingston-Biennial-Update

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) has postponed its new flagship exhibition the Kingston Biennial until December 5, 2021. The decision to postpone this international exhibition is an acknowledgement of the objective and logistical challenges currently facing the worldwide community due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally scheduled to open on December 13, 2020, the Kingston Biennial’s curatorial team is being led by David Scott, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, founder and editor of the journal Small Axe, and curator of Caribbean Queer Visualities and “The Visual Life of Social Affliction.”

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Scott is joined by co-curators O’Neil Lawrence, the Chief Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica; Wayne Modest, Head of Research for Material Culture for the Tropenmuseum, Museum Volkenkunde, the Afrika Museum and the Wereldmuseum, in the Netherlands; and Nicole Smythe-Johnson, writer and independent curator, currently a PhD student at the University of Texas, Austin.

Pressure is the theme of the the 2021 Kingston Biennial which will feature the work of artists based locally, and in the Caribbean Diaspora, selected by the curatorial team. The exhibition will be accompanied by extended city-wide programming aimed at provoking engagement and discussion beyond the walls of the National Gallery. Pressure, according to the Curatorial Director, David Scott, “…is a profoundly resonant and vivid term—really a keyword—that maps an interconnected range of historically rooted experiences that evoke an environment burdened with difficulties and hardships.”

“The whole history of Jamaica could be written as a story of pressure. But it is not a solely passive experience. It’s not a condition undergone, endured, tolerated, and it is not intended to signal a sense of victimhood and victimization. To the contrary, what is instructive about the Jamaican experience and the idiom of pressure is that it has always had a generative and dissenting quality about it.

“Pressure is a source of critical and creative counter-powers and creative oppositional activity. It is an inspiring human resource, and historically it has been deeply fertile ground for some of the most brilliant works of Jamaican cultural achievement. We will be thinking about and looking at this process in a very contemporary sense. In this endeavour to think about the role of pressure in Jamaican life, the curators will engage with the relation between visual art practice and the larger social, cultural, political and economic life that is our nation, Jamaica.

“The biennial is an exhibitionary form, a model for showing art to publics. Over the past decade or more, this form has grown in significance, such that biennials have become the most important art events in the global art world. Biennials have helped put cities on the global cultural map and helped to give voice to otherwise invisible art practices. In our view, Kingston should be part of this global process. As one of the oldest world cities with a varied and vibrant cultural life, Kingston has a lot to offer the global art world. And, as the curators urge, pressure is precisely an idiom in which to accentuate what is most creative in Jamaica.”

“The Kingston Biennial will now be more in line with other biennials around the world.  We have a great team of curators, a good theme, a lot of talented artists and a complicated global environment so our audiences can expect a fascinating Kingston Biennial in 2021,” said Dr Jonathan Greenland, Senior Director of the National Gallery of Jamaica. “We were tremendously excited to start the planning of this new venture in 2019 and will continue to work to produce the best possible exhibition for its new date.”

If there are any questions, please contact the National Gallery of Jamaica.

Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Tori Love

On August 30, 2020 the National Gallery of Jamaica will be hosting our virtual Last Sundays on our YouTube and Instagram channels. This month we will be featuring the musical artist Tori Love and some more short interviews from the Jamaica Jamaica! opening. The videos will premiere at 1:30pm.

Victoria ‘Tori Love’ Taffe is a daughter of the soil and musician by blood. She is currently a student of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance to embolden and refine her natural affinity to music. Her dream is to continue sharing her music to bring hope to those in the world most in need of it.

Tori Love Official

Tori’s academic prowess at the Edna Manley School of Music has afforded her many musical awards, scholarships and the honor of representing her school on several platforms. This has included a tribute to the late Edward Seaga at the Little Theatre and a featured solo act for the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards in 2019. She has also worked with both upcoming and established artistes such as Rockaz Elements, Alicia Taylor, Naomi Cowan, Richie Spice and Wayne Marshall among others.

For more educational and entertaining content subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on:-Instagram @nationalgalleryofjamaica
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Jamaica Independence Day 2020

Gaston Tabois – Road Menders (1956), Collection: NGJ

The painting Road Menders, by Jamaican Intuitive Gaston Tabois (1924 – 2012), was created in 1956, six years before Jamaica achieved political Independence in 1962. It depicts a group of labourers in the process of building a road. Taking place within an idyllic tropical scene, women and men work together to ‘dig up’ the ground, lay aggregate and pour water. As they work, a steam roller operator paves the areas they had previously completed. In the background, left-hand side of the composition, another woman sits on the ground with a fire going under a vessel, perhaps cooking in preparation for when the workers take their break. 

Despite the fact that Road Menders preceded 1962, its depictions symbolize major themes of Jamaican Independence, which have been used to enrich our contemporary understanding of what becoming a nation may have meant for Jamaicans, such as the ones Tabois portrayed.  These include but are not limited to, the importance of our communities as a part of social, infrastructural and economic development, and also critically, of self-determination. It is the fight for this right that helped Jamaica to achieve self-governance in 1944, a celebration of which Tabois may have considered for this painted scene. It was also the continued advocacy for that right by Jamaicans that helped to establish the new nation of Jamaica on August 6, 1962. 

As we reflect on the circumstances surrounding Jamaica’s first national achievement and the progressions we have made since, let us remember that the journey of nationhood will always be ongoing, transitioning from one generation of citizens to the next. As the current generation of Jamaican people, let us remember that challenges overcome will yield the fruits of resilience, unity and insight for a greater and prosperous future. 

Happy Independence Day, Jamaica!

Emancipation Day Message 2020

David Lucas (1802 -1881) after Alexander Villiers Rippingille (c. 1790 – 1859) The First of August, 1834

The mezzotint The First of August was originally published in London to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the British colonies. It depicts a recently emancipated family with the father triumphantly raising his hands to the sky in a gesture of freedom. He stands on a whip (the symbol of the cruelty and oppression of enslavement), his children bury the shackles which once restrained him and his wife holds their youngest child who will never know slavery aloft. The work contains all the signifiers of freedom and was meant to wordlessly communicate the ethos of that moment in colonial history. 

The 1st of August is an auspicious date in Jamaican history. It was on this day in 1834 that the Emancipation Proclamation was read in King’s Square Spanish Town; marking the abolition of the institution of slavery in the British Colony of Jamaica. The road to this event was a long one punctuated by the work of Abolitionists, the increased agitations of the enslaved for freedom – most famous among them Tacky’s 1760 revolt and Sam Sharpe’s 1830 Christmas Rebellion – as well as the continued reverberations of the successful revolution in the island of St Domingue (renamed Haiti and the Dominican Republic). 

This was not the end of the struggle however, as the formerly enslaved were then placed under a system of “Apprenticeship” which saw many of them, without viable options for making their livelihoods, maintaining their ties with the same plantations they had been “freed” from.  

It was exactly four years later on August 1st 1838 that “Full-Freedom” was granted to the black populace of Jamaica. As the struggle against the forces of imperialism, colonialism and white supremacy moved into the 20th Century, the names Marcus Garvey, Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante were among the most prominent voices that helped to move the nation towards Independence and self-governance.  

As we reflect on the journey that has brought us to 2020, the unforeseen circumstances we have weathered and the new challenges ahead; let us focus on the strength, commitment and resilience of our ancestors that have brought us this far as we chart our path in the brave new world ahead. 

Happy Emancipation Day Jamaica!