Silver Musgrave Medal for Art: Donnette Ingrid Zacca

The National Gallery of Jamaica wishes to congratulate Donnette Zacca on her Silver Musgrave Medal, which was awarded today, and we are pleased to reproduce the award citation:

“The Institute of Jamaica recognizes Donnette Ingrid Zacca for outstanding merit in the field of Art”

“Born in St James in 1957, Donnette Zacca’s sojourn into photography began when she acquired her first camera while a ninth-grade student at the Mount Alvernia High School in Montego Bay. As a young country girl with a camera, she was driven to explore and discover a myriad of outdoor spaces – a practice that continues to this day as she travels to various locations across the island to capture scenes of natural beauty and sometimes otherworldly intrigue. She also produced portraiture, though mainly as a means of earning pocket money to support her new hobby.”

“From 1976 to 1980, Zacca attended the Jamaica School of Art, which is now part of the Edna Manley College, where she attained a Diploma in Art Education and Graphic Design. During these studies, she excelled in Photography, experimenting with a variety of shooting and printing techniques, including how to superimpose multiple photographic images within the same composition. After graduating, she continued her explorations, eventually developing an image-making technique of her own which she has called ‘marbling’.”

“In the late 1980s, she continued her photographic education, beginning with a course on Basic Architecture and Archaeological Photography, offered in Port Royal by the University of London (1987 – 1988). From 1988 to 1989, supported by scholarship from the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), she attended the University of Cincinnati where she undertook studies in alternative and advanced photographic techniques. From 2000 to 2004, she pursued and acquired a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art.”

“Donnette Zacca has been exhibiting as a fine art photographer since the mid-1980s. Notable exhibitions in which she has maintained a consistent presence include the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) National Photographic Competitions and the Annual National and Biennial exhibitions of the National Gallery of Jamaica. She has also held a number of solo exhibitions, most memorable among them the Issues in Fertility exhibition at the Mutual Gallery in 2008. Her work is well represented in private as well as public collections.”

“Additionally, Donnette Zacca has contributed her photographic expertise to many national organizations, including the National Environmental and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Jamaica Environmental Trust (JET). She has received important commissions, including the creation of twelve stamps for the Jamaica Postal Service in 2003, which featured White Sorrel and historic and modern buildings in Jamaica.” Continue reading

Gold Musgrave Medal – Petrona Morrison

Petrona Morrison - Reality/Representation (2004), detail of installation

Petrona Morrison – Reality/Representation (2004), detail of installation

Here is the third and final of the citations for this year’s Musgrave Medals in Art, for Petrona Morrison who was awarded the Gold:

“The Institute of Jamaica recognizes Petrona Morrison for distinguished eminence in the field of Art and Art Education.”

“Petrona Morrison was born in the parish of Manchester in 1954. She obtained the Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts (Summa Cum Laude) at McMaster University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from Howard University College of Fine Arts. During her MFA studies, she spent a year in Kenya and she was artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem from 1994 to 1995. More recently, she has also held short-term artists’ residencies at the Contemporary Caribbean Arts in Trinidad in 2002 and at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2005.”

“Morrison’s travels and residencies in Kenya, Harlem and South Africa have deeply influenced her artistic development. Her earliest works were fairly conventional, figurative paintings and drawings with autobiographical overtones but her art took a different course in the late 1980s when she started producing textural reliefs and assemblages that incorporated discarded materials.”

Petrona Morrison - Altarpiece 1 & 2 (1991, Collection: NGJ)

Petrona Morrison – Altarpiece 1 & 2 (1991, Collection: NGJ)

“These reflected her interest in traditional African art forms, such as Dogon architecture and the carved doors she had seen in Mombasa; but she invoked these sources poetically rather than literally, as symbolic acts of reconstruction and reconnection.”

“These assemblages became larger over time and culminated in a series of totemic structures made from scrap metal and wood, several of which were over ten feet tall. These assemblages signified, in her own words, “transformation, renewal and healing,” on a personal and broader social level, which has remained as the central theme in her work.”

Petrona Morrison - Sanctuary/Space (For Me), 1995

Petrona Morrison – Sanctuary/Space (For Me), 1995

“Morrison’s residency at the Studio Museum resulted in more three-dimensional constructions that incorporated urban debris such as wood beams and metal fragments from nearby derelict buildings.”

“These recuperation materials were turned into altar-like structures that evoke the frailty of the body and the restorative power of the spirit in the face of material transience. These ritualistic works also mark a turn towards a spirituality related to African-derived New World religions rather than their African sources.”

“By the late 1990s, Morrison’s interest in articulating ritual spaces resulted in room-sized installations that were at first constructed from the recuperation materials she had used in her earlier assemblages but gradually shifted to other, less materially dense media such as medical X-rays, maps and aerial photographs, and other ready-made and purposely produced images, which were placed in front of light boxes and often combined with a few evocative found or constructed objects.”

“These works more directly referred to events in her own life, including her medical history, and also made reference to the social tensions and violence in Jamaican society, which gradually became a more important theme. While materially and visually very different from what she had produced before, these works, nonetheless, reflected thematic continuity as they again spoke about the frailty and resilience of body and spirit and the interconnectedness of the social and the individual.”

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Silver Musgrave Medal – Jasmine Thomas-Girvan

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan - Dreaming Backwards, mixed media, size irregular  - detail

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan – Dreaming Backwards, mixed media, size irregular – detail

Here is the second citation from this year’s Musgrave Awards, this time regarding Jasmine Thomas-Girvan‘s Silver Musgrave Medal:

“The Institute of Jamaica recognizes Jasmine Thomas-Girvan for outstanding merit in the field of Art.”

“The jeweller and metal-smith Jasmine Thomas-Girvan was born in Jamaica and presently lives in Trinidad and Tobago. She attended the Parsons School of Design in New York, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewellery and Textile Design. Whilst at Parsons, Thomas-Girvan was awarded the Tiffany Honour Award for Excellence. In 1996 she was the recipient of a Commonwealth Foundation Arts award and in 2012 she was the recipient of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Aaron Matalon Award, as the artist who made the most outstanding contribution to that year’s National Biennial. Her mixed media installation, Dreaming Backwards, which was exhibited in the 2012 Biennial, was subsequently acquired for the National Art Collection.”

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan - Dreaming Backwards, mixed media - detail

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan – Dreaming Backwards, mixed media – detail

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Bronze Musgrave Medal – Phillip Thomas

Phillip Thomas - The N-Train (2008)

Phillip Thomas – The N-Train (2008)

On October 22, three Jamaican artists were awarded Musgrave Medals by the Institute of Jamaica: Petrona Morrison (Gold), Jasmine Thomas-Girvan (Silver) and Phillip Thomas (Bronze). The NGJ congratulates them and, as has become customary, is publishing the citations on its blog, starting with Phillip Thomas:

“The Institute of Jamaica recognizes Mr Phillip Thomas for merit in the field of Art.”

“Phillip Thomas currently teaches painting at the Edna Manley College’s School of Art, his alma mater, where he attained a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Painting and in the process earned the coveted Albert Huie Prize for painting. He also earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from the New York Academy of Art, where he was awarded a one year post graduate fellowship. He has recently completed a residency at The Prince’s Drawing School Dimplex Studio at Dumfries House in Scotland.”

Phillip Thomas - An Upper Saint Andrew Concubine, triptych, mixed media on canvas, National Biennial 2012

Phillip Thomas – An Upper Saint Andrew Concubine, triptych, mixed media on canvas, National Biennial 2012

“Thomas has exhibited widely in Jamaica and internationally. He won the Public Award in the Mutual Gallery’s Under-40 Artist of the Year competition in 2008 and he is a regular exhibitor at the National Gallery of Jamaica, where he was awarded the prestigious Aaron Matalon Award for his submission to the 2008 Biennial. He is represented internationally by the Richard J. Demato Gallery in Sag Harbor, New York.”

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2010 National Biennial: Silver Musgrave Medalist Gaston Tabois

The Jamaican Intuitive painter Gaston Tabois in 2010 received a Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica, the NGJ’s parent organization. As has become customary for artists who have been awarded Musgrave medals, the 2010 National Biennial includes a special tribute exhibition of his work. Below is the citation for Gaston Tabois’ Silver Musgrave medal.

Gaston Tabois – Road Menders (1956), Collection: NGJ

The Institute of Jamaica recognizes Gaston Tabois for outstanding merit in the field of Art.

Born in Trout Hall, Clarendon in 1924, Tabois’ early years were spent on his parents small farm in the village of Rock River, a few miles from Chapelton, where as an only child he received the full attention of a doting mother who instilled in him a sense of order, discipline and of pride in completing every set task with a maximum of constructive effort. The late Gloria Escoffery, author of a memorable account of Tabois’ journey as an artist, adds other early lessons from his mother:

Today Tabois has his mother to thank not only for the moral
standards she set for him…, but also for the example of those nimble
fingers as they brought to life the intricate designs she embroidered
on the bridal gowns of Rock River belles (…) without realizing that
he was learning, Tabois came to understand the importance of
planning, of careful craftsmanship, of giving thought to the
materials, or ground on which one worked, the tools and medium
one selects for a particular job.

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2010 National Biennial: Silver Musgrave Medalist Gene Pearson

The Jamaican ceramicist Gene Pearson in 2010 received a Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica, the NGJ’s parent organization. As has become customary for artists who have been awarded Musgrave medals, the 2010 National Biennial includes a special tribute exhibition of his work. Below is the citation for Gene Pearson’s Silver Musgrave medal.

Installation view - Gene Pearson exhibition in 2010 National Biennial

The Institute of Jamaica recognizes Gene Pearson, O.D., for outstanding merit in the field of Art.

Ceramicist and sculptor Gene Hendricks Pearson was born in 1946 in St. Catherine, Jamaica. He attended the Jamaica School of Art; now the Edna College of the Visual and Performing Arts, where he studied under Jamaica’s Master Potter Cecil Baugh and was one of the School’s first graduates with a diploma in ceramics in 1965. He subsequently taught at the Jamaica School of Art, for some eighteen years, and has also taught ceramics at the Calabar and Vere Technical High schools. At present, he works exclusively as a studio artist and divides his time between Jamaica and California. A keen cultural entrepreneur, he recently opened a gallery in New Kingston – the Gene Pearson Gallery – where he sells his ceramic and sculptural work.

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