Kingston – Part 1: The City and Art – Introduction

While we install the Kingston – Part 1: The City and Art exhibition, which opens on July 31, we share with you the catalogue introduction by the NGJ ED, Veerle Poupeye, as one of several posts on this project:

The city of Kingston is, in many ways, the crucible in which modern Jamaican culture is forged and it does no injustice to the cultural contributions of other parts of Jamaica, or the Jamaican Diaspora, to recognize its seminal role. Kingston is after all the birthplace of reggae, which has given Jamaica its global cultural visibility. By virtue of being Jamaica’s capital and largest population centre, Kingston is home to major cultural institutions and organizations, public and private, and generally provides a social and economic environment in which the arts can thrive. Given the fraught social dynamics that have shaped Kingston, the city also created an environment in which the arts had to thrive, as a key part of the population’s survival strategies.

This exhibition is our contribution to the conversation about Kingston as a Creative City – a UNESCO designation the city received in 2015 for its role in music – but presented from the perspective of the visual arts. The initial exhibition brief was to explore the role of Kingston in the development of Jamaican art and conversely, to explore the role, actual and potential, of art in the development of Kingston. The exhibition was assigned to Assistant Curator Monique Barnett-Davidson, as her first solo-curated exhibition, and we could think of no one better, given her previous research, curatorial work, and publication on street art. We soon realized however that what we had originally planned was too big a subject for a single exhibition and we decided that the present exhibition would be the first of a two-part exhibition series, with the second part, which will presented in 2017, focusing on the built environment and the role of art in urban development and renewal.

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Michael Lester: A Montego Bay Artist Opens on July 24

National Gallery West

Michael Lester Invitation 3.5x8-01
The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present the Michael Lester: A Montego Bay Artist exhibition, which will open at National Gallery West at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre on Sunday, July 24.
The exhibition comprises work by the Polish-born artist Michael Lester, who lived and worked in Montego Bay from 1953 until his death in 1972. He made the city, its people and its environs his main subject, in lyrical expressionist paintings that celebrated the beauty and unique character of Jamaica. Lester, whose birth name was Leszczynski, was a popular figure in the Montego Bay community and along with his wife Peggy ran the Lester Gallery, one of the first art galleries in the city. His work was supported by local art lovers and tourist visitors alike and is represented in many private, corporate and public collections, including the collection of the National Gallery of Jamaica. The…

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Panel Discussion and Twitter Chat: Digital Art- Potential and Possibilities

Panel Discussion - June-01

The closing event for the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Digital exhibition will be a panel discussion and Twitter chat on the possibilities and potential of digital art and its role in redefining contemporary art. This panel discussion will be held at the National Gallery on Saturday, July 2, 2016, starting at 1 pm and will feature four digital artists, Corretta Singer, David Gumbs, Shane McHugh and Danielle Russell. The latter three are are represented in the Digital exhibition.

The panel discussion will be organized around four major discussion points:

  1. What Makes Digital Art ART? – an exploration of definitions, understandings, commonalities and peculiarities of digital art.
  2. The Challenge of New Media –  a discussion of how material value is treated in or can be ascribed to digital artworks; what are the conventional expectations of the ‘art object’ and how do the media used for digital art challenge these expectations?
  3. Exposure, Accessibility and Audience Reach – Does digital art afford greater/lesser potential for the aforementioned for the artists/designers as well as the audience? What are the ramifications concerning copyright and other legal protection for the creators of digital artwork?
  4. Rethinking Patronage – to what extent can the conventions of collecting artwork be applied to digital art? Is there a possibility that the traditional art collector may become marginalized as more artists produce in this way or can the rise in prevalence of digital artwork provide more diverse ways of encouraging varieties of patronage?

The panel discussion will be accompanied by a Twitter chat for members of the audience and persons who are not able to come to the gallery for the event, including some of the artists in the Digital exhibition. All that is required is that they follow the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Twitter account, @natgalleryja and include #NGJDigital in their comments or questions. Participants in the Twitter chat can begin tweeting by 12 noon on the day.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. Persons in attendance will also have a final opportunity to view the Digital exhibition.

Digital: Rodell Warner, Arnaldo James, and Darron Clarke

Rodell Warner, Arnaldo James, and Darron Clarke - darron.gif, 2015 - still from GIF

Rodell Warner, Arnaldo James, and Darron Clarke – darron.gif, 2015 – still from GIF

The Digital exhibition includes several collective projects. The GIF “darron.gif” by Rodell Warner, Arnaldo James and Darron Clarke is one of them.

Bios

Rodell Warner is a Trinidadian graphic designer and photographer, born in 1986. He has exhibited in Kingston, Johannesburg, London, New York, Washington and Maracaibo. Rodell was a recipient of the 2011 Commonwealth Connections International Arts Residency and he was an artist in residence at New Local Space (NLS) in Kingston, Jamaica in 2014.

As a photographer, teacher and designer (graphic and product), Arnaldo James interrogates gender, race, privilege and exploitation. These interrogations often develop into spaces that encourage safe interactions challenging marginalization based on gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, class and mental/physical ability. James engages his photographic portraits as collaborations, acknowledging subject as co-creator. This collaboration with Warner and Clarke is an act of intentional support among Black men.

Darron Clarke was born in Trinidad in 1991 and is represented by Major Model Management. Clarke lives and works in New York.

About the Work

The image darron.gif is the negative of a photograph of Darron Clarke, covered in Rodell Warner projections, shot by Arnaldo James. The photograph was animated by Warner and is presented including additional animated GIFs.