Jamaica Biennial 2017 – Bulletin 2: Installation in Progress

The installation of the Jamaica Biennial 2017 officially started on February 6 with the arrival of Laura Facey’s Ceiba, a giant double-sided drum carved from the trunk of a Cotton tree. Carrying this 30 feet long, multi-tonne art work into the gallery was a major feat, which required the temporary removal of the entrance doors and windows and the assistance of the Jamaica Defense Force, who carried the work manually into the gallery. Needless to say, it was an exciting and at times hair-raising spectacle, which was witnessed by many passers-by, but with the very efficient work of the JDF, the delivery and installation of this giant work of art was completed without incident. Ceiba will be part of the Biennial display in the central galleries, where it is already attracting significant attention, and will also be used for a performance at the main opening function on February 26.

The Jamaica Biennial 2017 will be shown at the NGJ and at Devon House in Kingston, and at National Gallery West in Montego Bay. We have again included special projects by Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora artists for this edition we invited Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Andrea Chung, David Gumbs, Nadia Huggins, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Raquel Paiewonsky, and Marcel Pinas.  We have also added two tributes, to Alexander Cooper and the late Peter Dean Rickards. In addition to this, the exhibition includes work by invited Jamaican and Jamaican Diaspora artists, and work that was submitted to the juried part of the exhibition. In all, it will be a very diverse exhibition that features work in traditional and new media, and a wide variety of styles, approaches, and subject areas.

The Jamaica Biennial 2017 is, without exaggeration, the largest and most ambitious exhibition ever staged by the NGJ. For the juried section, we received 174 entries by 110 artists, of which 66 entries by 49 artists were selected by our panel of selectors. The invited section yielded 61 art works by 35 artists. The juried and invited sections combined thus consist of 127 works of art and this does not include the special projects and the works of art in the tributes, making it an even larger exhibition than the Jamaica Biennial 2014. Added to that, we have some two dozen installation proposals–the most we have ever received, as well as several exceptionally large works and digital art works that require significant amounts of technical support and specialized equipment. The installation of the Jamaica Biennial therefore comes with special technical and organizational challenges and there will inevitably be some disruption, as some galleries will be temporarily closed and some of the installation work will have to be done during opening hours and in public view. We apologize to our visitors for the inconvenience this may cause but trust that the sampling of works used to illustrate this short blog post will give them an idea of what awaits and why it is well worth waiting for.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

The Jamaica Biennial 2017 will open with a series of event from Friday, February 24 to Sunday, February 26, 2017:

  • Opening function – National Gallery West, David Gumbs’ Xing-Wang project: Friday, February 24 at 7 pm
  • Main opening function – National Gallery of Jamaica: Sunday, February 26 at 1:30 pm (doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm)

These functions are free and open to the public. The Devon House opening on February 25 will be a private event.

The full Biennial will be on view at all three locations until May 28, 2017.

Regular opening hours at the NGJ:

  • Tuesday-Thursday: 10 am to 4:30 pm
  • Friday: 10 am to 4 pm
  • Saturday: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Last Sundays: every last Sunday of the month, open from 11 am to 4 pm, with entertainment at 1:30 pm

The NGJ is closed on Sundays, except for Last Sundays, and on Mondays. Further visitor info can be found here.

Regular opening hours at National Gallery West/Montego Bay Cultural Centre:

  • Tuesday-Sunday: 9 am to 5 pm

National Gallery West is closed on Mondays and between exhibitions. More information on the Montego Bay Cultural Centre can be found here.

Regular opening hours at Devon House (Mansion tours):

  • Monday-Friday: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Visitor information for Devon House can be found here.

Additional opening times will be announced during the course of the Biennial for some of the locations. Please follow us on Facebook @jamaicabiennial for this and any other information pertaining to the Biennial.

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

last-sundays-january-29-2017-rgb

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.

javada-smaller

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.

Public Lecture: Christopher Cozier – Actions between Territories, January 11 @12:30 pm at EMC

christopher-cozie-flyer-insta

The National Gallery of Jamaica, in association of with the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and NLS (New Local Space), are pleased to present a public lecture by the Trinidadian artist, writer and curator Christopher Cozier on Wednesday, January 11, at 12:30 pm in the School of Visual Arts Lecture Room at the Edna Manley College.

Christopher Cozier was born in 1959, in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, where he lives and works. Cozier’s work has been featured internationally at the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of Art and Design NY; the Havana Biennial; the Biennial de Cuenca, Ecuador; the Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan: América Latina y el Caribe; the Eli and Edith Bread Museum at MSU; TEOR/ética, San Jose, Costa Rica; and the TATE Liverpool. He was a member of the editorial collective of Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism and an editorial adviser to BOMB Magazine for their Americas issues. He is co-director of Alice Yard, a 10-year old arts space in Port-of-Spain which organizes exhibitions, artists’ residences, cultural dialogue and exchanges. He received the Prince Claus Award for 2013. Christopher Cozier is one of the international judges for the juried section of the Jamaica Biennial 2017.

Cozier’s lecture, titled Actions Between Territories, will discuss the potential free/play spaces that Caribbean artists are constantly imagining, constructing, and navigating, including in his own creative practice and at Alice Yard. He will also discuss how the established idea of the Caribbean persists—as a viable fiction, as a site of exchange, an owned product or territory traded between various beneficiaries, internal and external.

The lecture is free and open to the public but artists and art students are especially encouraged to attend. The Edna Manley College is located at 1 Arthur Wint Drive, Kingston 5. Parking is available on campus.

Special Viewing of Spiritual Yards, with Nexus Performing Arts Company

spiritual-yards-invite-rgb

 

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.

Jamaica Biennial 2017 – Bulletin 1: NGJ Welcomes International Judges

Preparations for the Jamaica Biennial 2017 are moving into high gear next week with the selection of the juried section of the exhibition, which will take place on Monday, January 9 and Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

The juried section of the Biennial is open to artists resident in Jamaica and artists living elsewhere but who were born in Jamaica or are of Jamaican parentage. For the juried section of the Jamaica Biennial 2017, the National Gallery has received 176 qualifying entries by 110 artists. The panel of judges for 2017 consists of two international judges—Amanda Coulson and Christopher Cozier—and two local judges—Susanne Fredricks and Omari Ra. Artists will be notified about selections by Friday, January 13.

The National Gallery wishes to extend a special welcome to its two international judges, who are both arriving in the Island this weekend.

Amanda Coulson (photo David Williams)

Amanda Coulson (photo David Williams)

Amanda Coulson is the Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. A Bahamian national, she grew up in New York and London with frequent visits to her Nassau-based family. She studied for her Master’s Degree at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU and then started her career at the established old­ master dealers, Wildenstein & Sons, in New York, before going on to work in various galleries in London, Paris and Milan. Coulson spent two years as the international editor of the bi­lingual Italian/English contemporary art magazine Tema Celeste out of Milan, Italy, before moving to Frankfurt, Germany, where she wrote for a wide variety of international art magazines, such as Modern Painters, Art Review, Art NewsLapiz, and Frieze. She has also provided critical texts for monographic gallery and museum shows and worked as a freelance curator, organising gallery and institutional exhibitions, some for Bahamian artists abroad. Coulson is one of the co­founders of the VOLTA contemporary art fairs, held in Basel, Switzerland, and New York, USA, and continues to serve as its Artistic Director.

Christopher Cozier (photo Mark Lyndersay)

Christopher Cozier (photo Mark Lyndersay)

Christopher Cozier is an artist, writer and curator. He was born in 1959, in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, where he lives and works. He holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from Rutgers University. Cozier’s work has been featured internationally at the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of Art and Design NY; the Havana Biennial; the Biennial de Cuenca, Ecuador; the Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan: América Latina y el Caribe; and the TATE Liverpool. His Entanglements series was recently shown at the Eli & Edythe Broad Museum at MSU and also at TEOR/ética, San Jose, Costa Rica in 2015. He was a member of the editorial collective of Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism and an editorial adviser to BOMB Magazine for their Americas issues. He is co-director of Alice Yard, a 10-year old arts space in Port-of-Spain which organizes exhibitions, artists’ residences, cultural dialogue and exchanges. He received the Prince Claus Award for 2013 for his “influential role and open inclusive approach in developing art and culture across the Caribbean; for selflessly and generously creating possibilities for others, inspiring and mentoring younger generations; for his disciplined commitment to intellectual inquiry and critical discourse.”

The two local judges are well-known professionals in the Jamaican art world. Susanne Fredricks is art dealer, curator and art auction organizer. She is Exhibitions Director at Gallery 128 and Hi-Qo Gallery and operates the Contemporary Caribbean Art Gallery, an online platform. She previously served as Deputy Director at 198 Contemporary Arts in London and as Director of Urban Art Vision, an art-based new media and technology programme for youth at risk. Fredricks holds a BSc in Anthropology and Film from Goldsmiths College and an MSc in Environment and Development in Latin America from the University of London. Omari Ra is a painter and art lecturer and serves as the head of the Fine Arts department at the School of Visual Arts of the Edna Manley College. He holds a Diploma in Painting from the Jamaica School of Art and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. Ra was the recipient of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Aaron Matalon Award for his contribution 2004 National Biennial and was awarded the Institute of Jamaica’s Silver Musgrave Medal in 2010. Fredricks and Ra both serve on the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Board of Management. Continue reading

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.