Last Sundays, January 29, 2017, feat. Spiritual Yards and Javada

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The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programme for January 29, 2017, will be the last chance to see the Spiritual Yards Home Ground of Jamaica’s Intuitives Selections from the Wayne and Myrene Cox exhibition, which closes on that day.  There will also be a musical performance by emerging artiste Javada.

Consisting entirely of works from the collection of Wayne and Myrene Cox Collection, the Spiritual Yards exhibition explores the work of Intuitive artists who produced sacred images and objects which are rooted in Revival religions, Rastafari or their individual spiritual beliefs, and are representative of the “spiritual yard” tradition in Jamaica, which is an important yet insufficiently documented part of Jamaica’s popular cultural heritage. Spiritual Yards features the work of ten such artists, namely Errol Lloyd “Powah” Atherton, Vincent Atherton, Everald Brown, Pastor Winston Brown, Leonard Daley, Reginald English, Elijah (Geneva Mais Jarrett), William “Woody” Joseph, Errol McKenzie, and Sylvester Stephens, along with rare photographs and video material on their life, work and spiritual yards from the Wayne and Myrene Cox archives. The exhibition has achieved significant visitor acclaim and is a must-see before it closes.

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Born Nevada Myrie, the deejay, lyricist and performer Javada grew up in East Kingston where he spent much of his time listening to and emulating his favourite deejays Bounty Killa, Shabba Ranks, Terror Fabulous and Buju Banton. Javada is a former member of dancehall star, Konshens’ Subkonshus Music Group label, and has performed on major stages in Europe, Africa, USA, and the Caribbean, as Konshens’ opening act. He has also recorded and released a number of songs with Konshens, most notably, Say Di Word (ZJ Liquid, H2O Records), and Gyal Dem Ready.  His big voice, commanding stage presence, and a warm personality brought this dynamic deejay and songwriter to the attention of Spanish superstar singer, Enrique Iglesias, who featured Javada on the 2016 Billboard charting, ‘Spanglish’ remix of his song, Duele El Corazón (The Heart Aches). Javada’s music in 2016 also reached the international airwaves with the single Wake Up Beside You, on the Cold Heart Riddim (Robert Livingston, Scikron Entertainment) and the song has quickly become a regular choice on radio, club and sound systems playlists in several African countries and in the African Diaspora. Javada’s most recent single, In Deh (Dre Day Productions) is on the same trajectory, receiving regular air and club play within the African Music market and also on local stations.

The National Gallery of Jamaica’s doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm on Sunday, January 29, 2017 and the musical programme will start at 1:30 pm. As is customary, admission will be free and there will also be free tours of the National Collection, but contributions to the National Gallery’s donations box are always appreciated. The National Gallery gift and coffee shops will be open for business and proceeds from these ventures help to fund programmes such as Last Sundays as well as our exhibitions.

Special Viewing of Spiritual Yards, with Nexus Performing Arts Company

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The National Gallery is pleased to present a special viewing of its current exhibition, Spiritual Yards: Home Ground of Jamaica’s Intuitives – Selections from the Wayne and Myrene Cox Collection, on Sunday, January 15, 2017. The Most Honourable Edward Seaga will deliver remarks and the collector Wayne Cox will be in attendance. The critically acclaimed Nexus Performing Arts Company will offer an exclusive musical tour of the exhibition.

The Spiritual Yards exhibition, which opened on December 11, 2016, consists entirely of works of art and documentary material from the art collection of Wayne and Myrene Cox, a specialized collection of Jamaican Intuitive art. The exhibition explores the “spiritual yard” tradition in Jamaica, which is an important yet insufficiently documented part of Jamaica’s popular cultural heritage, and focuses on ten Intuitive artists who produced sacred images and objects for such yards and in most instances. The December 11 opening function also featured a musical tour of the exhibition presented by the critically acclaimed Nexus Performing Arts Company, whose deeply moving performance brought to life the cultural significance of the exhibition and the messages contained in the artists’ work. The performance was so powerful that it was decided to offer it a second time on January 15, 2017.

The National Gallery of Jamaica will be open from 11 am to 4 pm on January 15, 2017 and the function and musical tour will start at 1:30 pm. Admission will be free and the public is invited. Spiritual Yards continues until January 29, 2017. The exhibition catalogue is available for sale in the National Gallery gift shop.

Spiritual Yards – Gallery 5: Errol McKenzie

Spiritual Yards: Home Ground of Jamaica’s Intuitives – Selections from the Wayne and Myrene Cox Collection, continues until January 29, 2017, and explores the spiritual yard tradition in Jamaica, through ten Intuitive artists whose work is steeped in that tradition. The works of art and documentary material in this exhibition were selected from the Wayne and Myrene Cox Collection, a specialized collection of Intuitive Art. Here is the final of our posts on the artists in the exhibition, along with video footage, courtesy of Wayne Cox.

Errol McKenzie (b1954) lives in Walderston in the hills of Manchester. His belief system is is based on his very own spiritual concepts. Aspects of his philosophy, for example, hold the moon as “the centre of energy and eternal power” and women as natural-born leaders. Nowhere is this best expressed by him than in the design of his home called Black Moon Island, home of the “Moon Mother”– an organically shaped stone-house which utilizes concrete wood to create a number of interconnected chambers of varying shapes. As an artist, McKenzie’s body of work includes woodcarvings, cemented free forms, stone arrangements and paintings, all of which display surrealistic elements. Similar to other Jamaican self-taught artists like Brother Brown, Errol McKenzie has a fair amount of international acclaim, having been featured in a number of overseas exhibitions as well as in international publications on “outsider art” such as Raw Vision magazine. Locally, McKenzie’s work has been widely exhibited including the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Intuitives series and Redemption Songs: The Self-Taught Artists of Jamaica (1997) organized by the Diggs Gallery, USA. He was awarded a Bronze Musgrave Medal in Art by the Institute of Jamaica in 1997.

 

Spiritual Yards – Gallery 4, part 2: Elijah

Spiritual Yards: Home Ground of Jamaica’s Intuitives – Selections from the Wayne and Myrene Cox Collection, continues until January 29, 2017, and explores the spiritual yard tradition in Jamaica, through ten Intuitive artists whose work is steeped in that tradition. The works of art and documentary material in this exhibition were selected from the Wayne and Myrene Cox Collection, a specialized collection of Intuitive Art. Here is another post on one of the artists in the exhibition, along with video footage, courtesy of Wayne Cox.

Elijah (b1952) – Geneva Mais Jarrett became ‘Elijah’ when she was baptised as a young adult. During the baptism, her pastor saw a vision of bands of angels around her along with the biblical prophet Elijah. From that moment, she took on the role of preacher and prophetess, creating the Elijah Tabernacle in her home in the community of Rose Town, Kingston. She consecrated the area by painting most of the outside surfaces of the building, gate and zinc fencing with mural scenes of angels and events of the bible. She also hung painted banners and seals, as well as set up revival basins. Her yard became a safe haven in tough times. She began to create similar scenes on canvas after becoming noticed by a Swiss patron who visited her yard. Later, she had her first exhibition in Switzerland in the early 1990s, including a one-woman show at Musee d’Art Brut in Lausanne. Her works have been featured in several exhibitions including Redemption Songs: The Self-Taught Artists of Jamaica (1997) at the Diggs Gallery, North Carolina USA and the Intuitives III (2006) at the National Gallery of Jamaica. Her work is in the permanent collection of Frost Art Museum, Miami. She closed her Revival yard sometime around 2000 and is believed to now be living and preaching in the USA.

Spiritual Yards – Gallery 3: Leonard Daley, William “Woody” Joseph

Spiritual Yards: Home Ground of Jamaica’s Intuitives – Selections from the Wayne and Myrene Cox Collection, opens on December 11. Here is a post on two more of the artists in the exhibition, along with video footage, courtesy of Wayne Cox.

Leonard Daley (c1930-2006) was born in St Catherine. He moved Kingston where he became a part of the urban Rastafari movement. Later in life, he moved back to the hills of St Catherine residing in Wakefield. He worked at a number of jobs including as a cook and a taxi-driver. The paintings of Daley have been dated to as early as the late 1970s, although it is speculated that he may have been producing paintings from much earlier. Daley’s imagery involved a high degree of surrealism that featured densely packed and multi-layered compositions of ghoulish figures and faces, animals and text. He worked on a variety of discarded materials including plywood, hardboard, metal drum lids, pieces of tarpaulin and even shredded canvas. Daley described his artistic process as an automatic response to his own meditations and thoughts, “I close my eyes and I pray a lot. Sometimes tears fall down…Sometimes I sit down and look at the plain wall, and I can’t penetrate it. And so I will use some water in my mouth, and spew it on the wall, and whatever way it dries it comes out as a picture.” Daley participated in many local and international exhibitions, including Fifteen Intuitives (1987) at the National Gallery of Jamaica and New World Imagery: Contemporary Jamaican Art (1995) at the Hayward Gallery, London. He is well represented in a number of private and public collections internationally and locally, including the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Jamaica. In 2002, he was awarded a Bronze Musgrave Medal for Art by the Institute of Jamaica.

William “Woody” Joseph (1919-1998) was born in Castleton, St Mary. At some point in his life, he moved to Stony Hill, St Andrew, where he lived for a while until he built his house in Castleton. He began carving around 1963. One narrative states that he was inspired to carve when he went to a river to heal an injured leg and saw a stick floating in it. He took it as a sign that if he carved the stick, it would assist the healing. From then on, Woody viewed carving as a spiritual service or in his words “capture the heart of justice.” His anthropomorphic and zoomorphic wooden forms were reminiscent of similar forms in African and Taino traditions and demonstrate an imagination that was deeply tied to nature and the spiritual realm. Woody began exhibiting his sculptures sometime around the late 1970s. Notable local and international exhibitions include the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Intuitives series and Redemption Songs: The Self-Taught Artists of Jamaica (1997) organized by the Diggs Gallery, USA. He was awarded a Bronze Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in 1988.

Season’s Greetings!

Isaac Mendes Belisario - Koo-Koo, or Actor Boy (From Sketches of Character, 1837-38), Collection: NGJ

Isaac Mendes Belisario – Koo-Koo, or Actor Boy (From Sketches of Character, 1837-38), Collection: NGJ

The National Gallery of Jamaica wishes its friends and stakeholders all the very best for the Holiday Season and for a happy and prosperous new year in 2017.

Jamaica is blessed with rich Christmas-time traditions–seasonal food and drink traditions, Grand Market, Jonkonnu, and the religious observations that mark the season, to mention a few–and we invite you to recognize and celebrate the unique cultural dimensions of the Holiday Season in Jamaica. It is in this spirit that we have illustrated this message with one of the most famous Jonkonnu-related images, from Isaac Mendes Belisario’s Emancipation-era Sketches of Character (1837-38).

The Holiday Season is also a great time to visit the National Gallery, and to bring along any visiting family or friends. At the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston, we have on display Spiritual Yards: Home Ground of Jamaica’s Intuitives – Selections from the Wayne and Myrene Cox Collection, which explores the tradition of creating spiritual yards through the work of ten self-taught, Intuitive artists with art works and documentary material from the Wayne and Myrene Cox Collection. The ten artists are: Errol Lloyd Atherton, Vincent Atherton, Everald Brown, Pastor Winston Brown, Elijah, Reginald English, Leonard Daley, William “Woody” Joseph, Errol McKenzie, and Sylvester Stephens. We also have on view our Historical Galleries, with works of art from the Taino to the late 19th century; the Edna Manley and Kapo Galleries; the A.D. Scott Gallery, which explores art around Independence; the early Intuitives Gallery; and a temporary display with Selections from the Permanent Collection–together these exhibitions provide our visitors with a comprehensive overview of Jamaican art history. At National Gallery West at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, we have just opened Marcia Biggs: Impressions of Life, which features select paintings, drawings and watercolours by the popular Montego Bay artist Marcia Biggs, who passed away unexpectedly at age 38 in 1998. Continue reading