Jamaica Biennial 2017 – Bulletin 5: The Biennial @ Devon House

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Deborah Anzinger – A Piercing Cold Where We Meet (2017, digital study)

The 2014 edition of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Jamaica Biennial was shown at multiple venues—a first for this exhibition in Jamaica—and this included Devon House, the original home of the National Gallery and one of Kingston’s main heritage sites. Devon House was included as part of the National Gallery’s fortieth anniversary celebrations, as a home-coming of sorts, but also in response to the Devon House Management’s invitation to organize regular joint exhibitions.

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Laura Facey – Bumpy Top Desk and Mirror (2016)

The Jamaica Biennial 2014 at Devon House featured work by Laura Facey, Ebony G. Patterson (who won the Biennial’s Aaron Matalon Award that year), Greg Bailey, Cosmo Whyte, James Cooper, and Oneika Russell, and was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed parts of the exhibition. The approach taken was for the works selected to be installed the Devon House mansion interior, alongside or in replacement the regular furniture and art works, and, in the case of Laura Facey, also in the formal gardens in front of the house. The result was a rich dialogue between the history and context of the house—which was built and owned by Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel, in 1881—and the issues raised in the art works, such as the historical and contemporary dynamics of race and class, the politics of visibility and invisibility in the face of social violence, and our relationship to the natural environment.

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Sharon Norwood – Root of the Matter XI (2016)

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EDITORIAL – One Year of Blogging

 

Phillip Rhoden - Orange Street (2010). The NGJ building is on the left. Phillip Rhoden, an EMC graduate in Visual Communication, is the NGJ's Graphic Designer and AV Specialist.

 

The National Gallery of Jamaica blog went live one year ago, on October 17, 2009, with our first post in which we outlined our intention for it to “serve as a vehicle for gallery news and information on Jamaican art and artists.” Since then, we have published 75 posts, on individual artists, most of them Jamaican, and on various NGJ projects and programmes, and we have logged more than 41,000 views. Our record day, thus far, was September 22, 2010, when we had 556 views, and our current daily average stands at 260 views. We think that these statistics are not bad at all for an institution which was a novice to social media one year ago and the experience has certainly exceeded our expectations. Continue reading

Young Talent V: Leasho Johnson

Leasho Johnson - Territorial Fad (2010) (right panel of triptych)

Leasho Johnson is a graphic designer, painter and fashion designer. His exhibition is curated by Veerle Poupeye.

Artist’s Statement

My work is inspired by various graffiti and graphic art styles, which I interpret within the context of my own environment. Being trained by my father in the traditional methods of painting and drawing, I have fused these traditional methods with my love for cartoons to create art that I consider to be more relevant to me as a young person than the kind I was trained to create. I believe cartoon illustrations are capable of reinterpreting controversial subjects such as religion or even homosexuality into a source of amusement, which provides me with an opportunity to express my interpretations of my immediate environment and my experiences as a Jamaican. I also believe cartoons reinterpret reality in another manner that reality itself cannot express; they are less threatening towards sensitive human emotions (anger, fear, hate) because they are not considered to represent reality. Ironically, using cartoons allows me to reintroduce and address the realities behind them. Continue reading