We Have Met Before – Joscelyn Gardner

Joscelyn Gardner is one of four artists featured in We Have Met Before, an exhibition staged in partnership with the British Council. The exhibition is on view from September 22-November 4, 2017.

Bio

Born in Barbados, Joscelyn Gardner works both in the Caribbean and in Canada, where she is Professor of Art at Fanshawe College. She has held solo exhibitions in the USA, Canada, Spain, and throughout the Caribbean and has participated in numerous international biennials, exhibiting both prints and multimedia installations. Her work has also appeared in curated group exhibitions at museums in the USA, France, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Spain, India, China, Barbados, and the Netherlands, and is in public collections in the USA, Europe, and the Caribbean. In 2013 she received the Grand Prize at the 7th International Contemporary Printmaking Biennial in Trois Rivières, Quebec. She holds an MFA from Western University, and a BFA (in printmaking) and a BA (in film) from Queen’s University.

 

Joscelyn Gardner

About the Work

Joscelyn Gardner  is represented by two full series of lithographs – Plantation Poker (2004)and Creole Portraits II (2007)—and a selection of lithographs from the Creole Portraits III (2009- 2011) series – which are exhibited as installations that also include other elements. In these prints, which conform to the conventions of natural history illustrations, intricate African braided hairstyles morph into the instruments of torture that were used during slavery. A more specific reference to sexual abuse is added in the imagery in Plantation Poker, where the triangular shape of the hair references female pubic hair. The lovely flowers in Creole Portraits III are plants that were used by enslaved women to secretly end unwanted pregnancies. While deceptively delicate and exquisitely beautiful, the prints powerfully invoke the dehumanizing cruelty of plantation slavery. Gardner’s body of work is inspired by the infamous diaries of Thomas Thistlewood, a plantation overseer in Jamaica in the mid-18th century, who recorded with scientific precision his many forced sexual exploits and the cruel punishments he inflicted on the enslaved.

Joscelyn Gardner website: www.joscelyngardner.com

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Panel Discussion on “We Have Met Before” on September 23 @1:30 PM

We Have Met Before opens at the National Gallery of Jamaica on September 22 and is staged in partnership with the British Council. The exhibition features Graham Fagen (Scotland), Joscelyn Gardner (Barbados/Canada), Ingrid Pollard (Guyana/UK), and Leasho Johnson (Jamaica) and revisits the challenging but important subject of trans-Atlantic slavery and its afterlives in the contemporary world, interpreted by four artists with distinctive perspectives.

As part of the accompanying programmes for We Have Met Before, the National Gallery of the Jamaica and the British Council will present a panel discussion on the issues raised by the exhibition on Saturday, September 23, starting at 1:30 pm. The panel will consist of three of the artists in the exhibition, Graham Fagen, Joscelyn Gardner and Ingrid Pollard, while Deborah Anzinger will speak about Leasho Johnson’s work. The panel will be moderated by Shani Roper, acting Director/Curator of Liberty Hall, the Legacy of Marcus Garvey.

The panel discussion, which will take place at the National Gallery of Jamaica, is free and open to the public and those in attendance will also have the opportunity to view the exhibition, which continues until November 4, 2017.

We Have Met Before – Graham Fagen

We Have Met Before, which opens on September 22 and continues until November 4, is staged in partnership with the British Council. The works selected for this exhibition represent a conversation on the histories of Slavery, the Transatlantic trade, and its present-day implications. Graham Fagen is one of the four artists featured.

Bio

Graham Fagen, who was born in Scotland in 1966, studied at the Glasgow School of Art (1984-1988, BA Hons) and the Kent Institute of Art and Design (1989-1990, MA). He is Professor of Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee. He has exhibited internationally and in 2015 he was selected to represent Scotland at the 56th Venice Biennale. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

Graham Fagen

About the Work

Graham Fagen is represented by a multi-channel video and sound installation The Slave’s Lament, which was also shown at the 2015 Venice Biennale. The work is based on a 1792 song written by Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, in which an enslaved man in Virginia expresses his longing for his distant homeland of Senegal. Burns himself had been contracted to work as a book-keeper at a plantation in Jamaica several years before he wrote the song but never actually departed Scotland and his attitude towards slavery appears to have been ambivalent, caught between complicity and revulsion. In Fagen’s interpretation, The Slave’s Lament is performed by the reggae singer Ghetto Priest, a Rastafari, and this brings home the song’s uncanny resonance with the lyrics of exile in classic reggae. Fagen’s work also acknowledges the Scottish involvement in plantation slavery in the Americas, which may be relatively well-known in the Caribbean but is still part of the unacknowledged histories of Scotland. Continue reading

“We Have Met Before” – Introduction

 

 

We have met before. Four centuries separate our first meeting when Prospero was graced with the role of thief, merchant and man of God. Our hero was ‘the right worshipfull and valiant night Sir John Haukins, sometimes treasurer of her Majesties navie Roial’; and it is his first Voyage in search of human merchandise.

George Lamming – The Pleasures of Exile (1960)

We Have Met Beforewhich will be on view at the NGJ from September 22 to November 4, reflects on the question of historical forgetfulness and the capacity of art to unearth and to shed new light on what is forgotten or supressed. The four artists—Graham Fagen from Scotland, Joscelyn Gardner from Barbados and Canada, Leasho Johnson from Jamaica and Ingrid Pollard from Guyana and England— and the works selected for this exhibition represent a conversation on the histories of Slavery, the Transatlantic trade, and its present-day implications. Each artist brings a distinctive perspective to this subject area, with work that was created in different locales, different media, from different experiences, and at different points in time.

These subjects are of course not new and commonly appear in modern and contemporary art from the Caribbean and its Diaspora, as well as in other art forms such as dance, drama, literature and music. In Jamaica, the subjects hold a central position in Garvey and Rastafari culture, which has produced a recognizable African Zionist iconography that is prominent in the popular visual culture and the visual arts. The histories of slavery have been very contentious as a subject area in Caribbean art and this is particularly pronounced in public art, as was best illustrated by the intense controversy about Laura Facey’s Redemption Song (2003), Jamaica’s de facto Emancipation monument. This controversy raised many questions about the representational choices and the equally contentious issue of who can legitimately speak about this subject.

We Have Met Before revisits this complex and contentious territory, and acknowledges that much has been suppressed and left unsaid, especially by the former colonizers. The exhibition argues that the subject area needs to be approached as part of an ongoing conversation, in which there is no final word and in which it must be possible for various perspectives to be expressed. The resulting conversations may be difficult but they are necessary, as they are central to the histories that have shaped and continue to shape the contemporary Caribbean world, and it is hoped that this exhibition will contribute to this process. Continue reading

SAVE THE DATE – “We Have Met Before” Opens on September 22

The National Gallery of Jamaica in partnership with the British Council will be hosting an art exhibition from September 22-November 4, 2017. The show is entitled: We Have Met Before and features Graham Fagen, Joscelyn Gardner, Ingrid Pollard, and Leasho Johnson.

This exhibition revisits the challenging subject of trans-Atlantic slavery and its afterlives in the contemporary world, seen through the eyes of four contemporary artists. Each artist brings a distinctive perspective with work that was created in different locales, different media, and at different points in time.

Continue reading

Selections from the National Collection: Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds

National Gallery West

National Gallery West is pleased to present its latest exhibition Selections from the National Collection: Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds, which will be on view until mid October 2017. The exhibition is the first in a series of exhibitions that feature aspects of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s collections, while the permanent galleries in Kingston are being refurbished.

The Jamaican artist and charismatic Revivalist Bishop Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds was born in 1911 in Byndloss, a rural St. Catherine community some thirty miles from Kingston. At age sixteen he received his first vision and started traveling the countryside preaching. In the early 1930s he made his way to Kingston and settled in Trench Town where he established his Zion Revival church, the St. Michael Tabernacle. He later relocated to the Olympic Gardens community in western Kingston.

In Trench Town in the mid-forties he began translating his visions and his imaginative transcriptions of biblical…

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