Last Sundays August 26, 2018 to feature Nikeishia Barnes

The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programming for August 26th will feature a performance by Nikeishia Barnes. On its last day of viewing is the exhibition Daylight Come… Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica.


Since her debut in The Digicel Rising Stars competition Nikeishia Barnes has steadfastly pursued her musical career and graced the stages of many music festivals in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean with her emotive powerhouse vocals. She works within a wide variety of genres such as jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, reggae, dancehall and more. She is known for her renditions of songs such as Everybody Needs Someone To Love and Tonight’s the Night. Her vocal prowess has been likened to the greats: Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill and Marcia Griffiths. Nikeishia has not restricted herself to singing however, she is also a songwriter, rapper, poet, author and emerging producer. Through her music, she expresses aspects of her life such as motherhood, love, sacrifice, struggle and triumph. She has worked with producers such as Donovan Germaine, Anthony B and Ernie Wilks and collaborated with Buju Banton. Her 7 track EP is titled Wounded in Love.


Daylight Come: Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica examines the happenings and culture of Jamaica during John Dunkley’s life and acts as an accompaniment to the, now closed, exhibition John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night exhibition. It explores themes such as immigration, tourism and Jamaica’s journey into the Nationalist era while also taking a look at works by artists of his time, many of whom he would have interacted with.

Doors will open to the public from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The performance by Nikeishia Barnes will begin at 1:30 p.m. As is customary on Last Sundays, admission and guided tours are free, but contributions to the Donations Box located in the Coffee Shop are appreciated. These donations help to fund our Last Sunday’s events. The National Gallery’s Gift Shop and Coffee Shop will also be open for business.


Announcing the 4th Edition of WRITIVITY

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) is pleased to announce the staging of the fourth edition of its educational workshop, WRITIVITY, which begins on Monday, August 13 and will continue until Friday, August 17, 2018. Inaugurated in 2015, the WRITIVITY workshop is designed for Grade 10 – 11 students, who are preparing to sit Visual Arts examinations for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC). The workshop is coordinated by NGJ’s Education Department and forms part of the gallery’s summer educational programming. The main goal of WRITIVITY is to assist students with the development of their visual arts reflective journal, which is a key component of CSEC’s School Based Assessment (SBA) submission. By participating in this programme, students will be taught how to properly prepare entries for the journal, analyze art pieces and conduct art related research, within sessions that utilize the NGJ’s art collection and document resources.

Registration for the WRITIVITY programme is free and there is also limited space for participants, as such interested persons should make contact with the National Gallery’s Education Department as soon as is possible via the following telephone numbers: 876 922 – 1561/3 (Lime landline), or 876 618 – 0654/ 5 (Digicel fixed line).

All activities for WRITIVITY will be held at the National Gallery of Jamaica from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

A link to the WRITIVITY Time Table can be accessed here.

Last Sundays July 29, 2018 to feature the Rhumbaka Mento Band

The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programming for July 29th will feature a musical performance by the Rhumbaka Mento Band. Visitors will have a last chance to view the exhibitions John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night and Daylight Come: Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica.

Mento music originates from Jamaica’s plantation days and comprises of both African and European influences, sharing similarities to Trinidadian calypso. It predates genres such as ska and reggae and was the first form of popular Jamaican music to be recorded commercially. The instruments commonly used in mento are unique: the banjo, fife, maraca and the rumba box, from which “Rhumbaka” takes part of its name.

The Rhumbaka Mento Band


St. Catherine’s “Rhumbakah”, the modern day mento band, is very idiosyncratic. Emerging from Charlemont High School, it consists of talented young men aiming to spread mento music through the band’s unique sound and look. The band, which was founded in 2017,  is directed and managed by Nigel Powell.

To date the Rhumbaka Mento Band has performed at the University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor’s Christmas Dinner, the Ministry of Education’s GSAT awards, the JCDC Customer Appreciation Awards Ceremony and the Nestle CEO reception and other other events.


John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night was originally exhibited at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). It was curated by Diana Nawi and co-curated by independent Jamaican curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson. The exhibition focuses on intuitive Jamaican artist John Dunkley (1891-1947) who is known for his darkly coloured paintings, rich with fantastical landscapes.

Alongside the John Dunkley exhibition is Daylight Come: Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica, which explores the events in Jamaica during Dunkley’s time. Daylight Come… looks at the works of Dunkley’s contemporaries, Albert Huie, Henry Daley, David Miller Snr and Jnr, amongst others and the transitory shift into the Jamaican Nationalist era.

Both exhibitions close on this Last Sundays, July 29, 2018.

Doors will open to the public from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The performance by the Rhumbakah Mento Band will begin at 1:30 p.m. As is customary on Last Sundays, admission and guided tours are free, but contributions to the Donations Box located in the Coffee Shop are appreciated. These donations help to fund our Last Sunday’s events. The National Gallery’s Gift Shop and Coffee Shop will also be open for business.

Panel Discussion: Perspectives on Dunkley

On Saturday July 21, 2018, the National Gallery of Jamaica will be hosting a panel discussion entitled Perspectives on Dunkley at 2:00 pm. Moderated by independent Jamaican curator and writer Nicole Smythe-Johnson who co-curated the critically acclaimed John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night exhibition with independent US-based curator Diana Nawi; the discussion will feature presentations by Deborah A. Thomas and Oneika Russell.  

Conceptualized by Smythe-Johnson this panel will include a presentation by her on Dunkley’s significance from an art historical context; a presentation by Deborah A. Thomas on the role of culture in Jamaica’s Nationalist movements, and also a presentation by Oneika Russell from the perspective of an artist with a particular interest in Dunkley and his influence on other artists. This panel serves as part of the programming for the exhibition John Dunkley Neither Day nor Night, as well as its complementary exhibit Daylight come…Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica.

The critically acclaimed exhibition John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night showcases a once in a lifetime compilation of the work of renowned Jamaican Intuitive artist, John Dunkley (1891-1947) and was originally shown at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Born in Savanna-la-Mar, Dunkley was of the generation of Jamaicans who travelled to Panama, Costa Rica and Cuba at the beginning of the 20th Century seeking opportunities for work and advancement. His moody paintings and whimsical sculptures reflect his life, experiences and views on Jamaica’s fledgling nationalist movement.

Daylight Come…Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica acts as a complement to John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night. It explores the themes of tourism, immigration and the emergence of cultural nationalism during Dunkley’s lifetime. The exhibition contains rare photographs, artifacts and film footage from the turn of the century and shows the move from ethnographic and oftentimes disparaging depictions of Jamaicans, to the attempts at social and cultural empowerment by the Jamaican Cultural Nationalist movement of the early 1900s; providing further context to Dunkley’s creative output.   

Nicole Smythe-Johnson is a writer and independent curator based in Kingston Jamaica. She studied Humanities, Media and Cultural Studies at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota (BA, 2007) and Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds (MA, 2011). She has written for TerremotoMiami RailFlash ArtJamaica Journal and several other local and international publications. In 2016 she was awarded the inaugural Tilting Axis Curatorial Research Fellowship. She visited Scotland, Grenada, Barbados, Suriname and Puerto Rico, looking at curatorial practice in alternative and artist-run spaces. Currently, she is Acting Editor of Caribbean Quarterly, the University of the West Indies’ flagship journal.

Deborah A. Thomas is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is also core faculty in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, holds a secondary appointment with the Graduate School of Education, and is a member of the graduate groups in English, Africana Studies, and the School of Social Policy and Practice.  She is the author of Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation:  Entanglement, Witnessing, Repair (forthcoming), Exceptional Violence:  Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica (2011), and Modern Blackness:  Nationalism, Globalization, and The Politics of Culture in Jamaica (2004).

A graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Oneika Russell completed a diploma in the Painting Department before leaving to study at Goldsmiths College in London in the Centre for Cultural Studies in 2003. While at Goldsmiths, Russell began to integrate her deep interest in combining the practice of Painting with New Media. She went on to complete the Doctoral Course in Art at Kyoto Seika University, Japan concentrating on Animation in Contemporary Art.  Russell is currently a lecturer across The Fine Art and Visual Communication Departments at The Edna Manley College.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. Persons in attendance will also have an opportunity to view the John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night exhibition and also Daylight Come…Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica both of which close on July 29.  

Video – Portraits and Abstraction: A Conversation

Portraits and Abstraction: A Conversation from National Gallery of Jamaica on Vimeo.


On March 29, 2018 the National Gallery of Jamaica held a panel discussion Portraits and Abstraction: A Conversation with the curators of Explorations V: Portraits in Dialogue and Explorations VI: Engaging Abstraction. It was moderated by independent curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson and the speakers were O’Neil Lawrence (Senior Curator) and Monique Barnett-Davidson (Assistant Curator) respectively.

E-Catalogue for Daylight Come… Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica

For our latest exhibition Daylight Come… Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica (May 27 – July 29 2018) the National Gallery of Jamaica introduces it’s first e-catalogue. E-Catalogues will be created for select exhibitions and, while not as extensive as our print catalogues, will provide notable insight and information on their respective exhibitions, while being easily accessible to the general public.

Click to view “Daylight Come… Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica” E-Catalogue

The exhibition Daylight Come… Picturing Dunkley’s Jamaica was curated by Assistant Curator Monique Barnett-Davidson and is inspired by the intuitive artist John Dunkley. It is a complement to the National Gallery of Jamaica’s staging of the John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night Exhibition, and looks at the context and times in which Dunkley was living.

(John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night was organized by Pérez Art Museum Miami. It was curated by Diana Nawi with Nicole Smythe-Johnson. David Boxer served as curatorial advisor on the exhibition. This exhibition was sponsored by Davidoff Art Initiative.)