2010 National Biennial Artists Talk: Photography


Join us for a discussion with Petrona Morrison, Storm Saulter, Berette Macauley and Shanti Persaud on their photography-based work and the increasingly important role of photography in contemporary art practice.

This will be the first of two panel discussions relevant to the 2010 National Biennial. The second will be held on Tuesday, February 15 and will explore the use of conventional art media and formats in contemporary art.


Edna Manley’s Bogle: A Contest of Icons – Tell Us What You Think!

Edna Manley - Paul Bogle (1965), Photograph: Amador Packer


Since Independence, there have been several controversies about public monuments in Jamaica, starting in 1963 with the proposed National Monument for the Harbour View Roundabout, which was to be designed and sculpted by Alvin Marriott but which was never completed as a result. The other controversies pertained to Edna Manley’s Bogle (1965), Christopher Gonzales’ Bob Marley (1983) and Laura Facey’s Redemption Song (2003).

By far the most protracted controversy has been about the Bogle monument, which started at the time of its  1965 unveiling in front of the Morant Bay Courthouse, had resurfaced in 1971,  and flared up again in 2009, after the statue had been moved to Kingston for restoration.  A group of Morant Bay stakeholders requested that the monument should not be returned and replaced by a new monument, based on Paul Bogle’s presumed “true likeness” – the photograph reproduced below. The matter remains unresolved and the NGJ has made use of the presence of the recently restored statue in Kingston to present an exhibition on the subject, which opens on September 23 and continues until November 13.

Unknown photographer - portrait of Bogle (?), c1865?, copied from original tintype

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Press Release – Edna Manley’s Bogle: A Contest of Icons

Edna Manley - Bogle (1965), Photograph: David Boxer, 1970

The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition titled Edna Manley’s Bogle: A Contest of Icons, which will open to the public on Sunday, September 26.

This research-based exhibition examines the iconographies of Paul Bogle and the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion, with a specific focus on Edna Manley’s Bogle monument and the assumed photograph of Paul Bogle. The photograph was uncovered in the late 1950s and, while there are unresolved questions about its attribution, has become the de facto official representation of Paul Bogle. Edna Manley’s Bogle was unveiled in 1965 as the official monument to the Morant Bay rebellion and was located in front of the historic Morant Bay courthouse until it was recently removed for restoration. A second, truncated version can be seen in the 1865 Memorial at National Heroes Park in Kingston. Continue reading

Young Talent V: Marvin Bartley

Marvin Bartley, Study from the Enthroned Madonna (2010)

Marvin Bartley, Study from the Enthroned Madonna (2010)

This is our third in the series of posts on artists the upcoming Young Talent V exhibition at the NGJ, which is now confirmed to open on May 16. Marvin Bartley was born in Lionel Town, Clarendon Jamaica. He attended the Edna Manley College from 2003 to 2007 where he studied painting but photography had already become his main interest when he started his final year project, a series of haunting manipulated images inspired by Dante’s Divina Commedia. Since graduating, he has earned acclaim as a fashion and fine art photographer. His fashion photography has been featured in Iconography, She Caribbean, Jamaque, Posh, Skywritings, German Playboy, Buzz, Shabeau, and Back A Yard. He has participated in the following exhibitions: the J.C.D.C. Fine Arts Exhibition, Shortwood Teacher’s College, 2005; Jamaica National Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, 2006; Materializing Slavery, National Gallery of Jamaica 2007; and Kingston on the Edge, Gallery 128, 2007. Marvin Bartley’s participation in Young Talent V is curated by Dr. David Boxer, the NGJ’s Chief Curator.

Artist’s Statement

When asked about who I am, I refer to my profession first and then my name. I am a fashion, commercial and fine art photographer. My interest in photography was never planned. I went to the Edna Manley College of the visual and Performing arts to become a painter. Classical painting was my main interest, however despite my intentions then, fate had other plans. I slowly grew an interest in photography and soon realized that the basic understanding of classic painting composition, light and so on, could be applied to digital photography and digital editing in ways unimaginable.

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Young Talent V: Marlon James

Marlon James, Stefan and Camille (2009)

On May 16, 2010, the NGJ will open Young Talent V, an exciting new exhibition which will feature the work of 14 young Jamaican artists. The Young Talent series was inaugurated in 1985, with other editions in 1989, 1995, and 2002. The objective of the series is to provide exposure to the work of emerging Jamaican artists, in the form of mini-exhibitions within the overall exhibition that provide insight into the development and scope of each selected artist. For Young Talent V, the NGJ reviewed the work of some thirty Jamaican artists under 40 years old, of which the following fourteen were selected: Marvin Bartley (Photography); Stefan Clarke (Photography & Sculpture); Phillip Thomas (Painting & Drawing); Michael Elliott (Painting); Marlon James (Photography); Ebony Patterson (Painting, Printmaking, Installation & Textiles); Keisha Castello (Painting/Assemblage); Oliver Myrie (Painting); Caroline Sardine (Bops) (Painting & Assemblage); Oneika Russell (Drawing & Video Animation); Leasho Johnson (Painting, Installation & Fashion Design); Megan McKain (Jewellery & Textiles); Christopher Harris (Painting); “Sand” (Painting). The exhibition is curated by NGJ Chief Curator, Dr. David Boxer and Executive Director, Veerle Poupeye and O’Neil Lawrence is acting as Assistant Curator.

While we are preparing for Young Talent V, we will be publishing posts on each of the artists in the show. This first post is on photographer Marlon James (not to be confused with the like-named novelist), whose exhibition is curated by Veerle Poupeye.

Marlon James, Stefan (2010)

Marlon James, Stefan (2009)


Marlon James was born in Kingston in 1980. In 1998, he began his studies at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.  While majoring in sculpture he discovered his passion for photography and chose to dedicate all his free electives in that direction.  Under the tutelage of Donette Zacca, he began his creative development as a photographer and photography quickly became his primary medium.

In 2001 the Pulse Entertainment Group recommended Marlon to work with international, awarding winning photographer Jeffrey Gamble. Over the next year, Marlon was nominated for the Under 40 Artist of the Year competition at the Mutual Gallery, worked as one of two photographers for the fashion designer SIIM and freelanced on a number of commercial projects. Seeking to develop his skills, he sought the advice of a noted photographer Franz Marzouca. Marzouca, impressed with Marlon’s portfolio, became a mentor and invited him to work on a number of projects. Thus began the first of a series of apprenticeships that would serve to increase his proficiency as a photographer. Marlon continued to enhance his skills by working with other seasoned and respected photographers such as William Richards, a fashion and commercial photographer working between NYC and Jamaica; Anthony Mandler, a noted photographer and music video director from LA; and Mark Seliger, the renowned celebrity photographer whose images have made the covers of Vanity Fair and other international publications. These experiences have allowed him to access a pool of expertise that continues to inform his work as he develops his own creative style.

As an artist Marlon is committed to creating powerful images that will command the viewer’s full and undivided attention. His defines himself as an unorthodox photographer who strives to break the cycle of monotony. His photographic practice is varied and includes dark room and digital, colour and black and white, and fashion and fine art although he has focused mainly on the human figure. For Young Talent V, the exhibition will consist of a series of portraits of fellow artists, most  of which were made on site at the Edna Manley College.

Marlon James is currently employed in the Photography department of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts as a photography technician, and assistant curator of the College’s CAG[e] Gallery. He also teaches Beginner’s Photography in the Dept of Continuing Education. Continue reading