The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present a special edition of its Last Sundays programme for May 28, 2017, which features Tsunami Scarecrow, a short film on David Marchand, which starts at 1:00 pm, followed by a musical performance by Wayne McGregor and Friends, which starts at 1:30 pm. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view the Jamaica Biennial 2017, which closes on that day. The Last Sundays programme for May 28 will run concurrently at two locations, at the National Gallery of Jamaica itself and at Devon House, where the National Gallery is on that day participating in the Arts in the Park programme of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and where part of the Jamaica Biennial 2017 can also be seen. The programme at Devon House includes a round table discussion on the Jamaica Biennial 2017 which will take place at the East Lawn Gazebo from 2:30 to 4:00 pm.
Directed, written and produced by Chloe Walters-Wallace, Tsunami Scarecrow, shot from 2010-2014 in Runaway Bay Jamaica, is a short documentary on the “controversial, fluorescent, comical, extreme, kinky and sacrosanct,” David Marchand. Marchand, who recently passed away, was an infamous fine artist who seemingly veered on the border of mania and apt intelligence. He was at once a starving artist and self-proclaimed prophet from the lineage of the biblical King David, patiently awaiting the arrival of a tsunami he foresaw in a vision destined to destroy the island of Jamaica in one fell swoop.
Musical entertainment will be provided by the band Wayne McGregor and Friends. Lead singer Wayne McGregor, is a songwriter and guitarist who has played for many years on the local music scene. He has been a fixture in the local rock and blues live music scene since the 1990s. Joining McGregor will be Andre ‘Spyda’ Dennis, long-time session musician and keyboardist for internationally acclaimed reggae band Raging Fyah, and veteran percussionist and jazz musician Mbala Mgobo.
David Marchand (photo: Chloe Walters-Wallace)
On Tuesday, we received the sad news of the passing of David Marchand, just short of what would have been his seventy-third birthday. Marchand was one of the most unique Jamaican artists, legendary for his eccentricity (and at times bellicose personality) but even more so for his brilliant, quirky visionary paintings and assemblage boxes. The National Gallery of Jamaica’s pay tribute to him and his unique body of work.
David Marchand – Double Censored (2001)
David Marchand was born in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, in 1944. He studied art in New York City in the 1960s but he found that the city had too many distractions and returned to Jamaica. His first solo exhibition was at the Contemporary Artists Association Gallery on Oxford Road in 1970. He briefly worked for a local advertising industry but soon retreated from formal employment to focus on his art and, arguably, to live life on his own unconventional terms. In recent decades, his studio and home was in Runaway Bay, St Ann, where he shared space with a large number of cats in the burnt-out shell of what must once has been a glamorous beachfront residence, a family property.
David Marchand – The Necklace (n.d.)
Marchand’s “big break” as an artist may never have come, as he frequently lamented, but his artistic work was well respected in the local artistic community and he had the support of several loyal friends and collectors. The producer and art collector Maxine Walters was arguably his greatest champion and her daughter, the film-maker Chloe Walters-Wallace, has been working on a documentary on Marchand and his work, titled Tsunami Scarecrow. The title of the documentary refers to Marchand’s often-told vision of a major tsunami, approaching not from the sea in front of his home, as one would have expected, but from over the hills behind him—a cataclysmic event that would have destroyed the island of Jamaica and perhaps the rest of the world. The title also refers to his unusual appearance—a thin, scarecrow-like figure with wild, wiry hair.
David Marchand – Star and Star’s (n.d.)