Last Sundays June 24 to ft. Amina Blackwood-Meeks + Anomaly

 

The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programming for June 24th will feature storytelling by Amina Blackwood-Meeks and the visual and performing arts group Anomaly. The exhibitions John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night and Daylight Come: Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica will also be on view.

 

Storyteller, Amina Blackwood-Meeks

 

Performing arts group, Anomaly

 

ABOUT THE PERFORMERS

Both exhibitions are filled with stories of Jamaican histories which are rich in their potential to inspire storytellers and on this Last Sunday we welcome writer, director, performer, and custodian of the oral tradition, Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks. Widely acclaimed for her contribution to the renaissance of the traditional Caribbean storytelling art form, Blackwood-Meeks communicates both traditional and modern tales and her “…deep, rich, dramatic and deliberate voice brings stories from the heads of the ancestors, connecting ancient wit and wisdom with modern needs.” Her performance on Sunday has been inspired by closely interfacing with the current exhibitions and is guaranteed to delight children and adults alike.   See her website at http://aminablackwoodmeeks.com/.

Formed in 2016, the creative arts company Anomaly interweaves dance and drama to bring about the personal and social development of their performers and audiences. Anomaly has produced an annual creative arts festival and a creative arts summer camp for children. In their own words “We believe in the interaction of creative minds to amplify the art industry in Jamaica.”

ABOUT THE EXHIBITIONS

Originally exhibited at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) in 2017 and considered to be one of the most exciting shows that year in the USA, John Dunkley Neither Day nor Night showcases a once in a lifetime compilation of the work of renowned Jamaican Intuitive artist, John Dunkley (1891-1947). Born in Savanna-la-Mar, Dunkley was of the generation of Jamaicans who travelled to Panama, Costa Rica and Cuba at the beginning of the 20th Century seeking opportunities for work and advancement. His moody paintings and whimsical sculptures reflect his life, experiences and views on Jamaica’s fledgling nationalist movement. The National Gallery’s version of the exhibition, which opened on April 29 and closes on July 29, contains important new work not shown at PAMM.

Exploring themes of tourism, immigration and the emergence of cultural nationalism during Dunkley’s lifetime; Daylight Come…Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica acts as a complement to John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night. The exhibition contains rare photographs, artefacts and film footage from the turn of the century leading into the Jamaican Nationalist era and provides further context to Dunkley’s creative output. It explores the work of his contemporaries David Miller Snr and David Miller Jnr, Carl Abrahams, Albert Huie, David Pottinger, Ralph Campbell and Henry Daley among others; and shows the move from ethnographic and oftentimes disparaging depictions of Jamaicans, to the attempts at social and cultural empowerment by the aforementioned artists and others of the Jamaican Cultural Nationalist movement of the early 1900s. This exhibition, which opened on May 27, will also be on view until July 29.

Doors will open to the public from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Storytelling by Amina Blackwood-Meeks will begin at 1:30 p.m followed by Anomaly’s performance. As is customary on Last Sundays, admission and guided tours are free, but contributions to the Donations Box located in the Coffee Shop are appreciated. These donations help to fund our Last Sunday’s events. The National Gallery’s Gift Shop and Coffee Shop will also be open for business.

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“Daylight Come…Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica” to open at National Gallery’s on Last Sundays on May 27, 2018

The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programme for the month of May will mark the opening of a new exhibition Daylight Come…Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica. It will also feature a special ensemble musical performance as part of Lupus Awareness month activities.

Daylight Come…Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica complements the John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night exhibition which opened on April 29.This retrospective of Dunkley’s work was curated by independent curator Diana Nawi, formerly of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), and Nicole Smythe-Johnson, independent Jamaican curator and writer. Originally shown at PAMM in 2017, this version includes six works that were not part of that initial exhibition.

John Dunkley – Diamond Wedding (1940), Collection: National Gallery of Jamaica (Gift of Cassie Dunkley)

This new exhibition Daylight Come… explores themes such as tourism, immigration and the emergence of cultural nationalism in Jamaica during Dunkley’s lifetime. The exhibition provides further context to Dunkley’s creative output; exploring the works of his contemporaries David Miller Snr and David Miller Jnr, Carl Abrahams, Albert Huie, David Pottinger, Ralph Campbell and Henry Daley among others. This exhibition will be on view until July 29, 2018.

The Millers in 1964

May is Lupus Awareness Month and the special musical performance this Last Sundays serves as one of the activities to raise awareness to this life-altering disease. The music, poetry and dance that will be performed are all inspired by the emotional states experienced by someone with Lupus. The various performers include members of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica, the Jamaica Youth Chorale, the Porter Centre for Knowledge and The Music House.

Edna Manley – Prayer/Kneeling Figure, (1937)

As is now customary for our Sunday programmes, the doors will be open to the public from 11 am to 4 pm and the special musical performance starts at 1:30 pm. Admission and guided tours will be free. The gift and coffee shop will also be open for business.

 

Last Sundays February 25, 2018 to feature Sonnishea

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.

Barrington Watson – Athlete’s Nightmare II (1966), A.D. Scott Collection: NGJ

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.

Sonnishea

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.

 

Jamaica’s Art Pioneers: Carl Abrahams (1911-2005)

Carl Abrahams - Thirteen Israelites (1975), A.D. Scott Collection, NGJ

Carl Abrahams – Thirteen Israelites (1975), A.D. Scott Collection, NGJ

Carl Myrie Abrahams was born in St Andrew, Jamaica, in 1911. He was educated at Calabar High School where he received basic art training and, encouraged by his headmaster Reverend Ernest Price, began to study the work of old masters such as Frans Hals and Sir Frederick Leighton.

On leaving school in 1928, Abrahams started his career as a cartoonist, under the tutelage of Cliff Tyrell, one of the pioneering cartoonists in Jamaica. Abrahams soon contributed regularly to local publications such as the Gleaner, the West Indian Review and WISCO magazine. The English painter August John, who visited Jamaica in 1937, encouraged him to take up painting. After three years of service in the Royal Air Force during World War II, Abrahams returned to Jamaica and started painting professionally while also continuing as a cartoonist and illustrator.

Carl Abrahams - Birthday Drive (1972), Collection: NGJ

Carl Abrahams – Birthday Drive (1972), Collection: NGJ

Like John Dunkley, the Jamaican artist whom he most admired and who was an influence, Abrahams was an an individualist who opted not to participate in the art classes that were offered at Institute of Jamaica and, subsequently, the Jamaica School of Art and Craft and kept himself at a remove from the formal and informal artists’ groups that emerged in mid 20th century Jamaica. He essentially taught himself to paint, with the assistance of correspondence courses from England, and charted his own artistic course. It took a while before he found his painterly voice but when he did, he quickly emerged as one of Jamaica’s most original artists who produced ironic transformations of the great mythological and religious themes of the past, surreal commentaries on historical and contemporary events, and bizarre personal fantasies, in varying cartoonesque styles that defy art-historical classification and eccentrically challenge conventional rules of composition and representation.

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The 2009 NGJ Christmas Cards Have Arrived!

Our new Christmas cards are now in stock in our gift shop, along with a wide selection of other note-cards. The new cards feature works by Carl Abrahams, Osmond Watson and Michael Lester. Individual cards cost Ja$ 100 retail and Ja$ 80 wholesale (10 or more). Packs of four retail at Ja$ 300 and wholesale at $ 250. Our gift shop is also freshly stocked with original Jamaican art and craft , art reproductions,  books on art and related subjects, and other gifts. Profits from gift shop sales provide much-needed support for the programmes and art acquisitions of the NGJ.

For more information, call Tiffany Martin at 922-1561/-3 or 618-0654/-5 or e-mail natgalja@cwjamaica.com.