NGJ Teachers’ Webinar: “Supporting Art, Experiences and Learners”

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) will be hosting its Teachers’ Webinar, via the NGJ’s YouTube Channel, on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 1:00 PM. The live-streamed event is being coordinated by the NGJ Education Department under the theme “Supporting Art, Experiences and Learners”

The Teachers’ Webinar is a special edition of NGJ’s annual Teachers’ Seminar series, which was initiated in 2014 and specifically designed to equip, train and support teachers and teachers-in-training, to effectively incorporate the museum as a resource space. This webinar is coordinated as an extension of the Art-Ed Support project, which was initiated by the NGJ Education Department in July 2020 and entails a series of online art educational initiatives, designed to provide informational resources for a variety of scholastic and academic activities associated with the study and application of visual arts. 

The management of NGJ believes that the webinar will create opportunities for the NGJ to connect with a wider audience of educational professionals, regardless of the discipline or grade level. Key objectives for the NGJ’s Teachers’ Webinar will be to delineate procedures, concerning research and accessing NGJ educational services, as well as providing participants with information on how to apply museum resources in lesson planning.

Moderated by Assistant Curator in Education, Mr. Kirt Henry, with opening remarks delivered by Chief Curator, Mr. O’Neil Lawrence; the webinar will feature presentations from Curatorial Assistants, Mr. Dwayne Lyttle and Mrs. Cristal Clayton-Wallace. A preview video for the Webinar, entitled, “Education through the Museum Experience”, presented by Senior Curator, Mrs. Monique Barnett-Davidson – will premiere on the NGJ’s YouTube Channel, on Saturday, November 7, 2020. 

There are no registration requirements or costs associated with the NGJ Teachers’ Webinar; however, the event will not have open access. To view the webinar simply enter, or click on the following video:

The link will also be posted on the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  For more information, email the NGJ Education Department at educate@natgalja.org.jm, or call at (876) 922-1561, (876) 922-1563 or (876) 618-0654. You can follow the National Gallery of Jamaica, on the above-mentioned platforms and at the NGJ Blog, https://nationalgalleryofjamaica.wordpress.com.

Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Courtni

For the National Gallery of Jamaica’s upcoming virtual Last Sundays on October 25, 2020 we will be featuring a musical performance by vocalist Courtni as well as, interviews with The Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange MP, CD and Barbara Blake Hannah OD regarding the Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition. The video performance will premiere on our YouTube and Instagram pages at 1:30pm.

Hailing from the tourist city of Montego Bay, Jamaica, Courtni was born into a musical family. Early on she was encouraged to pursue her passion for music and as a result, she learned to play the piano at the tender age of six. Courtni draws inspiration from many artistes and groups including Bach, Ella Fitzgerald, Toots and the Maytals, Nirvana and Beyoncé.

Courtni is currently enrolled at the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance. At just twenty-five years old, she knows there is still much to learn and is eager to dive into the entertainment industry headfirst. Following graduation, she plans to not only pursue her lifelong dream of being a recording artiste but to also work as a composer and producer.

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In Memoriam, Beverley Oliver (1956-2020)

*This is the final article in a number of In Memoriam tributes that were announced in April of this year.

Beverly Oliver – Mumma (Image provided by The Jamaican Magazine)

In recognition of the passing of painter Beverley Oliver (born Beverley Edmond), the National Gallery of Jamaica would like to reflect on her contributions to the Jamaican artistic community.

Born on May 22, 1956 to renowned Jamaican painter Milton George, Oliver covered every surface she could find as a young child with bright colours. Rather than being discouraged by her elders she was sent to the Institute of Jamaica’s Junior Centre at the age of nine and encouraged by her father’s unrestrained painting style she was convinced that this was going to be her career path. 

As an adolescent this dream faded replaced by other activities and concerns and the responsibilities of adulthood and childrearing soon took over seemingly ended her painterly aspirations. With her father’s encouragement that reignited her passion, Oliver returned to painting at age forty in 1996. Characterized as a woman with a “seemingly inexhaustible imagination”, Oliver’s open-ended and free-spirited approach to applying paint is found in prayer which she identified to have been her source of inspiration. As with artists within the landscape of Jamaican painters, Oliver over the years has developed her personal style by the ways in which she has invented and depicted people, situations and things in life through her works. 

Matured in her personal style and ability to produce artworks, Oliver started exhibiting at Harmony Hall and the National Gallery of Jamaica. In 1996, Oliver’s first painting From Beyond was featured as a part of the Annual National Exhibition of the National Gallery of Jamaica. Additionally, Oliver has had her work “represented in the USA by CAVIN-MORRIS Gallery in New York”. Her works have been purchased by collectors in international destinations such as Hong Kong, Israel, Zimbabwe, Mexico and Sweden. The artist community recognizes Beverley Oliver for her contribution to visual arts in Jamaica. 

She passed away on February 12, 2020. The Board of Directors and the staff of the National Gallery wish to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Beverley Oliver.   


 1P53-54 Van Asbroek, Herman. The All-Seeing I: Exploring the Imagination of Beverley Oliver 83-86 Ibid, P53-54

Please note Ms. Oliver’s passing was unrelated to COVID-19

Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Tori-Lattore

On September 27, 2020, the National Gallery of Jamaica’s virtual Last Sundays will feature a musical performance by the singer Tori-Lattore as well as interview clips from the Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition opening. The video will premiere at 1:30pm on both our YouTube and Instagram pages.

Though petite in stature, Tori-Lattore stands tall on the shoulders of her powerful voice. With her smooth velvet tones and fiery delivery, she has mesmerized audiences near and far with her captivating stage presence. Tori started singing with the international performing arts company ASHE at a young age, and now hones her vocal craft and vibrant performance style at the distinguished Edna Manley College – Jamaica School of Music.

Despite her youth, Tori is becoming more recognized in music circles as a vocal powerhouse. She has provided background vocals both on stage and in recording sessions, for music stalwarts such as: Etana, Wayne Marshall, Chevaughn, Romain Virgo, Babycham, Jesse Royal, Notis Heavy Weight Rockaz and Agent Sasco. Tori is the lead female vocalist for the Ashe Company, where she has done numerous concerts, songs, dances and musical theatre productions. She is a triple-threat artist. With Ashe, she has performed for audiences Amsterdam, Trinidad, New York, South Africa and more. She is also a brilliant songwriter whose music is recorded by various artists. Now, as she branches out on her solo career, her sultry tones can be heard in her single “Goodbye.”

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Hurricane Preparedness and Your Art

The Atlantic hurricane season begins annually on June 1st and continues until November 30. To date, the 2020 season has set a new precedent in terms of having the earliest forming storms and occurrence of two active storms in the region simultaneously – and we haven’t reached the peak of the season yet! Hurricanes and tropical storms are comprised of winds rotating around a low pressure centre, and are formed over warm waters. In the Caribbean, extreme winds, flooding and lightning strikes are common and in many cases cause significant threat to human life, property, and major infrastructure. Based on this once a storm threat has been identified, governments and businesses put strategies in place to manage the effects of these natural phenomena on their operations and hasten recovery.

In addition, museums and heritage institutions housing important cultural items have also developed disaster management plans for this annual storm season, which is composed of conservation and risk management methodologies. With the understanding that hurricane winds can escalate to speeds of more than 119 km/h as well as, the volume of water can increase 0.6 inches/665km radius, heritage 2 professionals apply that knowledge to build effective disaster prevention plans for their collections. Many plans, regardless of the institution, contain similar or general rules such as “never store artwork on the floor” in case of flooding or “avoid placing artwork near exposed windows” in case of water and wind damage. Equally, museums and heritage institutions tailor their disaster plans to the specific challenges that they face.

These methodologies provide the necessary framework for protection and preservation of our priceless tangible assets, and ensure their longevity for future generations to enjoy. 

So what measures can we use to protect our tangible cultural heritage? 

While it is difficult to plan for every possible outcome, conducting risk management assessments can go a long way in mitigating the amount of damage our cherished valuables receive. Much of this mitigation involves practicing preventive measures in light of the many “what if’s” that may trouble the mind, once a tropical storm announcement is made. With an extremely active hurricane season predicted for the remainder of 2020, the National Gallery of Jamaica would like to share some of our tips to help protect your art and valuables during this hurricane season. To assist your preparations, we’ve separated our checklist into two sections for your benefit, these are: Before and After. We invite you to read through and prepare appropriate to your needs.

  • Develop a hurricane preparedness plan for your artwork.
    • If one already exists, review to ensure information is accurate and up to date.
    • Ensure that individual/employee responsibilities are outlined in a clear and concise manner. Eg. In the event of a power failure, who is responsible for the operation of the generator?
  • Photograph all of your artwork and store the photos safely.
    • Take photos of their placement in their current placement and up close photos of artwork itself.
    • Take photos of the painted image (the face) along with the reverse (verso) of the work for comparison.
    • Be sure to label each photo appropriately and upload them to an online storage platform like google or one drive for safekeeping. You can email the photos to yourself as well.
    • If you prefer or do not have access to an online storage platform, you can store your images on a secondary storage device like an SD card or flash drive and store the physical devices in a waterproof location.
    • You may also print the photographs, if you prefer, but be sure to label and store them in a ziplock bag or waterproof location.
  • Record the condition of your works.
    • This should involve documenting the artist name, dimensions, and current condition of the work (good, fair, poor). Document everything associated with the work to the best of your ability.
    • If you are not sure what to do, contact a heritage professional or a conservator for advice.
  • Get an appraisal of your artwork. In the case where your collection carries significant value, get a certified art appraiser to give you an estimated value. Secure this documentation as it will be crucial for your insurance at a later date.
  • Identify the safest room in your home or business to store your art:
    • Ensure windows are sealed and watertight, that there are no leaks or weakened areas of the roof.
  • Remove art from the walls and store elevated from the floor (at least 3 ft):
    • If possible, stack paintings vertically from largest to smallest, ensuring the frames of the preceding and succeeding works rest comfortably on each other. If unframed, place a sheet of acid free tissue paper where edges of the work touch to mitigate sticking and paint loss.
  • Cover your art stack with a plastic sheeting or tarp:
    • Secure edges of the plastic sheeting at the same time allowing some air to pass under the sheet. It is essential that you do not create a microclimate which will encourage mold growth and moisture damage.
  • If possible, consider crating your art:
    • Building specialized art storage will go a long way in ensuring the safety of your collection.
  • In the case of outdoor sculptures consider building a support or securely anchoring the work with rope to a concrete beam:
    • Where possible avoid anchoring to the ground as the earth could become waterlogged.
  • Consult your disaster management plan.
    • Contact all those involved according to the tasks delegated in the plan.
  • Remove plastic sheeting, and relocate collection to a safe but brightly lit and ventilated area and conduct an inspection.
    • Use photographs taken before the event to determine any condition changes to the artworks.
    • If damage is identified contact a conservation professional or depending on the extent of the damage you can carry the work to a local framer for advice.
    • Be on guard for water or moisture damage around the fame and on the matte or linen liner if present.
  • Conduct a condition report.
    • Using the same format as the condition report documented before the event, note the current condition of the artwork. Document any changes noted during your inspection. If no changes are noted secure your condition report for future reference – it will be needed in the event of another Hurricane or Natural disaster.
  • Contact your insurance company and inform them of damage if present.
    • The conservator will provide you with a condition report which along with the appraisal should be handed over to our insurance company with your claim documentation.
  • If damage is superficial ( only to the frame for exterior parts of the work), lightly dust the artwork with a soft brush or microfibre cloth and return to the hanging position on the wall.
    • If this is not possible, return the artworks to the storage stack or to the crate until it is safe to display them.

1 Matthew Cappucci. (2020) “ Tropical storm Nana forms in Caribbean, could make landfall as hurricane in Belize. Omar forms off East Coast.” The Washington Post. September 1, 2020. URL:https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/09/01/tropical-storm-nana-nears-formation-caribbean-atlantic-hurricane-season-stays-unusually-active/ [September 2, 2020]

2 According to Meteorologist William M. Gray, former head of the Tropical Meteorology Project.

Kingston Biennial Update

The inaugural Kingston Biennial has been postponed until December 2021.

2020-08-24-Kingston-Biennial-Update

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) has postponed its new flagship exhibition the Kingston Biennial until December 5, 2021. The decision to postpone this international exhibition is an acknowledgement of the objective and logistical challenges currently facing the worldwide community due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally scheduled to open on December 13, 2020, the Kingston Biennial’s curatorial team is being led by David Scott, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, founder and editor of the journal Small Axe, and curator of Caribbean Queer Visualities and “The Visual Life of Social Affliction.”

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Scott is joined by co-curators O’Neil Lawrence, the Chief Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica; Wayne Modest, Head of Research for Material Culture for the Tropenmuseum, Museum Volkenkunde, the Afrika Museum and the Wereldmuseum, in the Netherlands; and Nicole Smythe-Johnson, writer and independent curator, currently a PhD student at the University of Texas, Austin.

Pressure is the theme of the the 2021 Kingston Biennial which will feature the work of artists based locally, and in the Caribbean Diaspora, selected by the curatorial team. The exhibition will be accompanied by extended city-wide programming aimed at provoking engagement and discussion beyond the walls of the National Gallery. Pressure, according to the Curatorial Director, David Scott, “…is a profoundly resonant and vivid term—really a keyword—that maps an interconnected range of historically rooted experiences that evoke an environment burdened with difficulties and hardships.”

“The whole history of Jamaica could be written as a story of pressure. But it is not a solely passive experience. It’s not a condition undergone, endured, tolerated, and it is not intended to signal a sense of victimhood and victimization. To the contrary, what is instructive about the Jamaican experience and the idiom of pressure is that it has always had a generative and dissenting quality about it.

“Pressure is a source of critical and creative counter-powers and creative oppositional activity. It is an inspiring human resource, and historically it has been deeply fertile ground for some of the most brilliant works of Jamaican cultural achievement. We will be thinking about and looking at this process in a very contemporary sense. In this endeavour to think about the role of pressure in Jamaican life, the curators will engage with the relation between visual art practice and the larger social, cultural, political and economic life that is our nation, Jamaica.

“The biennial is an exhibitionary form, a model for showing art to publics. Over the past decade or more, this form has grown in significance, such that biennials have become the most important art events in the global art world. Biennials have helped put cities on the global cultural map and helped to give voice to otherwise invisible art practices. In our view, Kingston should be part of this global process. As one of the oldest world cities with a varied and vibrant cultural life, Kingston has a lot to offer the global art world. And, as the curators urge, pressure is precisely an idiom in which to accentuate what is most creative in Jamaica.”

“The Kingston Biennial will now be more in line with other biennials around the world.  We have a great team of curators, a good theme, a lot of talented artists and a complicated global environment so our audiences can expect a fascinating Kingston Biennial in 2021,” said Dr Jonathan Greenland, Senior Director of the National Gallery of Jamaica. “We were tremendously excited to start the planning of this new venture in 2019 and will continue to work to produce the best possible exhibition for its new date.”

If there are any questions, please contact the National Gallery of Jamaica.