The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to announce that due to popular demand, we will be extending the exhibitions Explorations V: Portraits in Dialogue and Explorations VI: Engaging Abstraction until March 25, 2018.
The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programming for February will feature a musical performance by Sonnette McKenzie, known to the musical fraternity as Sonnishea. The exhibitions Explorations V: Portraits in Dialogue and Exploration VI: Engaging Abstraction will also be on view.
February 25 will also mark the reopening of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s A.D. Scott Collection. Ainsworth David Scott O.D. (A.D. Scott) was a steadfast collector of Jamaican art. He founded the Olympia International Art Centre and played a pivotal role in the formalization of the National Gallery through service as both the board director and as a benefactor. A.D. Scott believed strongly in the inclusion of art in business and that the visual arts could further cultural development. The works in this collection offer insight into the Post-Independence Jamaican Art Movement and the works on display are a selection of the sixty-two donated to the National Gallery from his personal collection . Some of the artists included in the collection are Carl Abrahams, Albert Huie, Eugene Hyde, Alvin Marriott, Karl Parboosingh and Barrington Watson.
This Sunday’s performer, Sonnishea, is a talented singer, songwriter and poet, whose love of music spans multiple genres. She began singing at the age of five on the children’s choir of her local church, of which her parents were the directors. She was part of Glenmuir High School’s winning Junior Festival Choir in 2005 and 2007 and went on to sing lead in several performances of the Glenmuir Choir. Sonnishea then joined The Quilt Performing Arts Company where she was provided a platform to not only expand her talents but to touch a multitude of audiences. She is now a member of the UWI Classical and Jazz Ensemble and has performed in their 2016 and 2017 season shows. This Last Sunday opening will mark Sonnishea’s debut as an independent performer and she looks forward to where this new path may lead her.
Doors will be open to the public from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm; Sonnishea’s performance will begin at 1:30 p.m and, as is customary on Last Sundays, admission and guided tours are free. The Gift Shop and Coffee Shop will be open for business, with food, drink and unique locally made items for purchase. There is a donations box and any contributions will be appreciated. Donations are used to help fund exhibitions and programmes such as our Explorations series and Last Sundays events.
As part of our programming for Black History Month, the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) will be hosting a special event on Saturday February 17, 2018, at 1:30 pm entitled 21ST Century Kapo. Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds is considered to be Jamaica’s foremost Intuitive artists; and the newly reinstalled gallery features a selection of sculptures and paintings from the Larry Wirth Collection, the John Pringle Collection and the Aaron and the Marjorie Matalon Collection. The works in these galleries showcase the broad subject matter and iconography that Kapo explored and highlight the cultural significance of this artist.
The Kapo Gallery – which is one of only two NGJ galleries that are dedicated to single artists – was reopened on January 28 after being closed for almost a year; 21st Century Kapo will give the public an opportunity to learn more about this artist and engage in a discussion of his legacy and relevance to Jamaicans today.
21ST Century Kapo will feature a special screening of the archival film, Kapo the Artist, which first aired on BBC TWO in 1986. In it Kapo speaks about his life and work as an artist and Revivalist leader, it features commentary by Dr. David Boxer, Professor Rex Nettleford and Ambassador Dudley Thompson among others. The screening will be followed by a short, candid discussion between Dr. Clinton Hutton, Professor of Caribbean Political Philosophy, Culture and Aesthetics (University of the West Indies, Mona) and NGJ Senior Curator, O’Neil Lawrence.
Attendance to 21ST Century Kapo is free of cost and is open to the public. Visitors are being encouraged to view the newly reinstalled galleries prior to the beginning of the discussion.
The National Gallery of Jamaica was deeply saddened by news of the passing of our colleague, the scholar, curator and activist, Dr Donna McFarlane O.D. last week.
A true visionary, Dr McFarlane was the first Director/ Curator of our sister museum Liberty Hall: Legacy of Marcus Garvey. In Garvey’s time, the Liberty Hall was a meeting place for the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). The property hosted a range of cultural and intellectual programmes in its heyday. Eventually the property left UNIA hands and was owned by several individuals until it was purchased by the Government of Jamaica, through the Heritage Trust and declared a National Monument in 1987. Always a passionate advocate for civil rights and African and Diasporic empowerment; Dr McFarlane had returned to Jamaica after completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Masters in Developmental Economics. She worked for the Government of Jamaica and was also a consultant to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and other development financing agencies. She was however never far from the activities of the Cultural sector.
The Liberty Hall reopened in 2003, as a living monument to the legacy of Marcus Garvey and it was Dr McFarlane who spearheaded the development of the ground-breaking Marcus Mosiah Garvey Multimedia Museum. The museum – which was the only one of its kind in the Caribbean – utilized interactive technology to teach about the life, ideals and still-relevant messages of Jamaica’s first National Hero. The introduction of this type of technology into the museum experience was meant to make Garvey’s treasure trove of wisdom attractive and accessible, especially to Jamaican youth. Under her directorship the Liberty Hall was transformed into a centre of learning.
She later completed her master’s and PhD in museum studies and applied her knowledge to the improvement of the facilities and services of the museum. Dr McFarlane aligned the activities and programming of the Liberty Hall with Garvey’s famous quote: “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, no one but ourselves can free the mind…” In addition to its museum, she also established the Garvey Multimedia Computer Centre; the Garvey Research/Reference Library; and Community Outreach programmes that include Adult Computer Literacy class, Garvey After-School Programme, and Summer Art programming.
The Board of Directors and the Staff of the National Gallery of Jamaica wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Family and friends of Dr Donna McFarlane.
Her spirit and legacy will live on.
The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programme for the month of January will feature a special musical performance by the EarthKry band. Visitors will also be able to view editions V and VI in our Explorations exhibition series, Portraits in Dialogue and Engaging Abstraction. January 28 will also mark the reopening of the Kapo Galleries.
The EarthKry band, featuring keyboard player Phillip Mcfarlane, drummer Kieron Cunningham, bass guitarist Kamardo Blake and vocalist/guitarist Aldayne Haughton, continues their mission to voice the grievances of the downtrodden through their music. Drawing their inspiration from Bob Marley and The Wailers, The Beatles, John Holt, Black Uhuru and Steel Pulse, the group offers a genre-spanning fresh and universal sound. After the release of their debut album Survival at the end of June in 2017, the group embarked on a successful tour of North America and Europe spreading their message of authentic roots and culture. We welcome back to the National Gallery the EarthKry band as they embark on their Survival Winter Tour 2018.
“We are excited to go back on the road. Recording music for prosperity is important, but to play live is a different feeling and a must. Especially for us as musician, that connection that we feel with those that come to see us, is unparalleled. Each touch of our instruments carries the roots rock and reggae through vibrations directly to them. We are conscious that our music connects with people as worldwide we all go through financial hardships, personal struggles, health issues, war crisis, abuse.” – EarthKry
Portraits in Dialogue offers an open-ended survey of the oftentimes conflicted politics of artistic portraiture in the development of Jamaican art from the 18th century to the present. Issues explored include representations of surrounding race, class, and gender, as well as the perspectives of the artist. The second exhibition, Engaging Abstraction, examines abstraction as a modern and contemporary image-making approach that deviates from the more literal and popularized representational choices practiced by artists from Jamaica, the Caribbean and its Diaspora. The significant impact of abstraction on Jamaican and Caribbean art can be seen in our collection which features numerous works of art that qualify as abstract, or at least as abstracted.
This Last Sundays will also see the reopening of the Kapo Galleries, which celebrate the work of Jamaica’s foremost Intuitive artist Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds. The newly reinstalled gallery features both sculptures and paintings from three of our collections: the Larry Wirth Collection, The John Pringle Collection and the Aaron and Marjorie Matalon Collection. The works showcase the life, interests and spiritual beliefs of this Zion Revivalist leader.
As is now customary for our Sunday programmes, the doors will be open to the public from 11 am to 4 pm and EarthKry’s performance starts at 1:30 pm. Admission and guided tours will be free. The gift and coffee shop will also be open for business and and contributions to the donations box are welcomed. Revenues from our shops and donations help to fund programmes such as the Explorations exhibitions and our Last Sundays programming.
The Board of Management of the National Gallery of Jamaica wishes to announce the resignation of its Executive Director, Dr Veerle Poupeye. Dr Poupeye has been the Executive Director since 2009.
The Board wishes to thank her for her services over these many years and wishes her all the best in her future endeavours.