Panel Discussion “Kingston: Filming The City” – October 27 @ 2 pm


On Thursday, October 27, 2016, starting at 2:00 pm, the National Gallery of Jamaica will be hosting a panel discussion entitled Kingston: Filming the City. This event aims to explore the the work of filmmakers in depicting and interpreting Kingston life and its environs. Kingston: Filming the City is part of the educational programming associated with the NGJ’s current feature exhibition Kingston, Part 1: The City and Art, which opened on July 31 and will now close on November 5. The exhibition utilizes paintings, sculpture, ceramics, film and photography to explore the dynamic between Kingston’s growth as a major commercial as well as cultural centre and the development of Jamaican visual art practice and infrastructure.

The focus on film for the panel discussion was inspired by the inclusion of two motion-picture works in the exhibition: Chaotic Beauty (2016), a video by emerging Jamaican digital artist Di-Andre Caprice Davis, and The Harder They Come (1972), the iconic Jamaican film directed by Perry Henzell and written by himself and Trevor Rhone. Both of these productions have featured Kingston not just as a backdrop to story-telling, but as a key location element that informs narrative progression and character development. Some have argued that The Harder They Come is also a portrait of Kingston and a time-capsule representation of urban life in Jamaica in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Kingston has featured in several other memorable, locally produced and international films, including the first James Bond film Dr No (1962), Rockers (1978), Dancehall Queen (1997), Third World Cop (1999), Better Mus’ Come (2010) and Kingston Paradise (2013). Kingston also serves as the locale and backdrop to numerous Jamaican and other music videos, such as Proteje’s Kingston Be Wise (2013).

The discussion on October 27 will be moderated by lecturer of Audio-Visual History at the University of the West Indies (Mona), Dr. Julian Cresser, along with the following panellists:

  • Franklyn “Chappy” St. Juste, veteran cinematographer who has been credited in films such as The Harder They Come (1972), Children of Babylon (1980) and Coolie Pink and Green (2009). St. Juste has also contributed valuable years of service to the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC) and the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC).
  • Natalie Thompson, film producer and managing director of Cinecom. Some of Thompson’s acclaimed productions have included Third World Cop (1999), Knight and Day (2010) and the Marley documentary (2012).
  • Nile Saulter, cinematographer and film director as well as founding member of New Caribbean Cinema. Some of his notable productions include Coast (2011), Pillowman (2013) and Everblessed (2016), a collaboration between himself and Canadian journalist Jeremy Relph.
  • Randall Richards, emerging photographer, videographer and one of the founders of ARRC Creative Media Ltd. Richards’ recent productions have included the music video for music single by Reggae artiste Protogé, Kingston Be Wise (2013).

Also as an accompanying mini-campaign to the Kingston: Filming The City panel discussion, persons are being invited to create 10 to 20 second videos about Kingston and post them to the NGJ Education Department Facebook page, using the hashtag #ngjkingstonfilm. The final day for posting will be on November 4, 2016. All posts will be reviewed by the National Gallery of Jamaica before appearing on the page’s timeline.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. Persons in attendance will also have an opportunity to view the Kingston, Part 1: The City and Art exhibition.

Ebony G. Patterson’s Tribute to Cecil Cooper

Cecil Cooper - The Prayer (2016)

Cecil Cooper – The Prayer (2016)

Ebony G. Patterson spoke on behalf of Cecil Cooper‘s past students today at Cecil’s funeral. She has allowed us to publish her powerful tribute.

In moments like these we always think about the absence and somehow our words in these ceremonies are an attempt at filling up something we think is missing. It is difficult to see towers in our life fall. Mr Cooper was a mountain of a man, his presence filled the room’s corner. He was a passionate man who lived his life with incredible meaning. He gave so much of him self to his practice as an artist and gave even more of himself to his family, students, his community and country. He was an generous teacher who gave his students so much and he truly loved us. He was tough on us!  He challenged us constantly, always demanding more of us, more than we thought we were capable of.  And that’s the job of a teacher.  It is to see you beyond your potential. And in the moments of frustration he would say “you ever think about trying animal husbandry”?  Or slap his face.

He never minced his words but the good teachers rarely do. He knew we didn’t know what we were truly capable of and it was his responsibility to help us guide us beyond our imagination and help us to bloom. He saw us not as who we were but who we could be.  He would always say that he knew many of us would not go onto be artists, but regardless of this his responsibility was to discipline us, to send out in to the world as critically thinking,  problem-solving, challenging, engaging, thoughtful, meaningful individuals . He planted seeds in all of us, and we have in one way or another gone on and shared these seeds with others.  Those people we shared with have also planted these seeds in others. He did this beyond his 30 plus years of teaching and that means there are a lot of blooming trees.

Cecil Cooper - Head (2016)

Cecil Cooper – Abstract Face (Pale) Study (2016)

I am grateful that I had Mr Cooper as a mentor and, like our parents, we never imagine these anchors in our lives exiting. I couldn’t imagine myself without him in my own narrative. I hear him everyday I enter the studio, and when I speak to my own students.  I am grateful for the quiet moments we shared listening to Mutty Perkins in studio and talking about the political and social concerns of our country. But I think the most valuable lesson I learned from Mr Cooper as a student was the evidence his own of work, of his own rigour, of his own practice, of his commitment. This was clear every morning when he came to school with his toes drenched in paint.

So we thank you Mr Cooper for SEEING US, thank you for demanding more  of us, thank you seeing beyond our potential, thank you your love , and thank you for loving us even harder during those times of frustration, thank you for holding us accountable, thank you for the late night drive-bys at the studio to make sure we were working through the night, thanks you for advice about finances and family, thanks for encouraging others to buy our work to help support our ambitions, thank you for your vulnerability , thank you for teaching us about the value of hard work  and the fulfillment and gratification that come form this , thank you for  teaching us about the importance  of  helping to build our own communities, thank you for our discipline , thank you for your generosity,  thank you  for seeing us  and, most of all, thank you for allowing US to see you. Thank you for being present.

We are for ever your students and graduates of the Cecil Cooper School of Painting. Paint, sing, and live in Paradise. We love you.

“Caribbean in Motion” To Be Shown at National Gallery West

National Gallery West


National Gallery West, the Montego Bay branch of the National Gallery of Jamaica, is pleased to present the Caribbean in Motion: Improving Lives through Artistry and Animation, an exhibition of work by Caribbean animators, which is presented in Jamaica in association with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Caribbean in Motion will be on view at National Gallery West from October 2 to November 20, 2016.

Caribbean in Motion was organized as a partnership between the IDB and the Animae Caribe Caribbean Animation Festival and earlier this year shown at the IDB Cultural Center in Washington, DC. The exhibition highlights some of the most captivating and imaginative animation and illustration in the Caribbean today, including works by Makesi Aquan, Danielle Blaize, Mathew Hudson, Alison Latchman, Anieph Latchman, Wendell McShine, Khia Poitier, Ansar Sattar, Steven Schmid and Marlo Scott. Caribbean in Motion explores the multifaceted social and economic benefits generated by…

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Last Sundays, September 25, 2016 – feat. Quilt and Kingston


The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programme for September 25, 2016, will feature a performance by the award-winning Quilt Performing Arts Company and guided tours of the Kingston – Part 1: The City and Art exhibition.

Kingston – Part 1: The City and Art examines how Jamaica’s turbulent capital city has generated many of the circumstances and opportunities that have propelled the development of Jamaican art, from the natural resources to the economic activities and institutions and the events, big and small, that have marked the city’s history. The exhibition features works of art that date from the late 17th century to the present day and portrays life in the city in all its diversity, seen through the eyes of artists such as Isaac Mendez Belisario, Sidney McLaren, David Pottinger, Osmond Watson, Carl Abrahams, Andy Jefferson, Edna Manley, Cecil Baugh, Kapo, Michael Lester and Roy Reid. The exhibition also features the iconic Jamaican feature film The Harder They Come (1972, dir. Perry Henzell), which is in many ways also a portrait of Kingston and, particularly, a time capsule of life in the city in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Kingston was curated by National Gallery Assistant Curator Monique Barnett-Davidson and continues until October 30, 2016.

The Quilt Performing Arts Company was born out of a need for a fresh, new, innovative way of creating performance art. Using Caribbean rhythms, merging poetry, dance and music, the Quilt performers have developed their own unique performance style and an evolving devised theatre technique. The performance at Last Sundays on September 25 will of consist Revolution (2016) and a new work that is yet to be titled. Revolution looks at hegemony and the ‘zombification’ of the human race. It travels through stage vignettes from the slave ships to the sound boxes of Kingston.  Artistic director Rayon Mclean and his team continue break boundaries and redefine performance spaces. This is the company’s second time in the National Gallery and the members are pumped up about serving of cocktail of art and heart.


The National Gallery’s doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm on Sunday, September 25, 2016 and the Quilt performance will start at 1:30 pm. Admission and guided tours will be free, but contributions to the National Gallery’s donations box are gratefully accepted. The National Gallery gift and coffee shops will also be open and the gift shop is stocked for the Christmas gift-buying season. Proceeds from these ventures help to fund exhibitions and programmes such as Last Sundays.

National Gallery Pays Tribute to Cecil Cooper

Cecil Cooper at his studio in November 2015 (photograph courtesy of Donnette Zacca)

Cecil Cooper at his studio in November 2015 (Donnette Ingrid Zacca photograph)

The National Gallery of Jamaica has received the sad news of the passing of the renowned Jamaican painter, singer, and art educator Cecil Harvey Cooper, CD, on the morning of September 15, 2016.

Cecil Cooper was born in the parish of Hanover, Jamaica, in 1946 and was one of the first graduates, in 1966, of the full-time diploma that had been introduced at the Jamaica School of Art under the directorship of Barrington Watson. He also lived in the USA, where he studied and obtained a BFA and, later, an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Cecil Cooper in 1981 became the head of the painting department of his alma mater, the Jamaica School of Art, which is now part of the Edna Manley College. He continued in that position until his retirement in 2009 and has taught and mentored many noted younger artists, such as Omari Ra, Oneika Russell, Phillip Thomas and Ebony G. Patterson.


Cecil Cooper – Night Horse (1993, Collection: NGJ)

Cecil Cooper worked mainly in paint media, using gestural painting and drawing techniques, and his thematic preoccupation with the joys and anxieties of the human condition, and particularly the central roles of women in society, reflected a romantic temperament that was also evident in his musical work as a classical tenor. He exhibited regularly at the National Gallery of Jamaica, Harmony Hall, the Mutual Gallery and, most recently, Round Hill and the Olympia Art Gallery, and at overseas galleries such as the Savacou Gallery in New York City. His work is represented in many private, corporate and public collections, including the collection of the National Gallery of Jamaica.

Senator the Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson, the Chairman of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Board of Management, paid tribute to Cecil Cooper “as one of the artists who had charted the direction of Jamaican art in recent decades, through his outstanding artistic work and his distinguished service to institutions such as the National Gallery and the Edna Manley College.” Dr Veerle Poupeye, the National Gallery’s Executive Director, hailed Cecil Cooper as “an artist who was completely immersed in his art as a way of life, and a passionate art educator who challenged his students to be and do their best at all times.”

Cecil Cooper and Prime Minister Holness at the opening of his Milestone exhibition, Olympia Art Gallery, June 17, 2016 (Donnette Ingrid Zacca photograph)

Cecil Cooper and Prime Minister Holness at the opening of his Milestone exhibition, Olympia Art Gallery, June 17, 2016 (Donnette Ingrid Zacca photograph)

Cecil Cooper had celebrated his 70th birthday in June 2016, with a major exhibition of work from 1978 to 2016, titled Milestone: Cecil Cooper at 70, which was held at the Olympia Art Gallery. He had on September 6, 2016, received the Jamaican National Honour, the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, for his invaluable contribution to the arts. Earlier on, in 1993, he had also been awarded the Institute of Jamaica’s Bronze Musgrave Medal for his contribution to painting and art education. Cecil Cooper was a member of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s current Board of Management and had also previously served in this capacity.

The Board, Management and Staff of the National Gallery of Jamaica extend their sincere condolences to Cecil Cooper’s wife Rose, his children, other members of his family, and his many friends.

Cecil Cooper - untitled (2016)

Cecil Cooper – untitled (2016)

Saturday Art-Time is Back!

saturday art time september 2016


The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) is pleased to announce the resumption of its child art programme, Saturday Art-Time, on Saturday September 10, 2016.

The programme, which has been active since September 2009, has been on hiatus since March 2015.  Having renewed grant funding, the NGJ’s Education Department is looking forward to presenting new workshop activities to participants alongside staple programme art-making offerings such as drawing, painting, assemblage and collage. With new offerings such as animation, the young participants of Saturday Art-Time will continue to be given opportunities to learn about Jamaican culture and history through the gallery’s permanent collection as well as its temporary exhibitions.

Geared towards participants aged 8 to 15 years old, Saturday Art-Time has been a popular part of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s programming for its younger patrons and has been favoured by participants from a variety of social backgrounds. The present workshop series will be held during the 2016-2017 school year, with the first semester ending on December 10, 2016. The programme will also be accompanied by a child art exhibition entitled Art’iT, which was was previously held in 2011 and 2013 and reflects the effectiveness of the workshops and the enthusiastic participation of the children. Through Art’iT, which will be held towards the end of the school year, the programmes child artists receive a public platform on which they can exhibit their art and contribute to the diversity of the Jamaican artistic community.

The workshops, funded by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education fund (CHASE), will be held every Saturday morning from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the National Gallery of Jamaica. The workshops will continue to be free of cost, but space is limited so applicants are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Registration forms are available at the National Gallery. For more information, contact the National Gallery’s Education Department at 922-1561/3 (Lime landline) or 618-0654/5 (Digicel fixed line) or via e-mail at