Presenting the Global Conversations Series

(Please ignore the ‘EST’. All events are happening in Jamaican time.)

The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present the Global Conversations Series with its inaugural episode premiering on Friday April 16, 2021. Spanning four weeks, each episode will feature topical discourse between globally renowned artists, curators and thinkers. These discussions will be presented live on our YouTube channel and include a 30 minute segment for audience participation. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for notifications on the following series: 

WEEK 1: Radical Art Practice in the 21st century
April 16, 2021 | 12 noon to 1.30 pm
Participants: Olu Oguibe, Ibrahim Mahama, Deborah Anzinger
Moderator: Petrina Dacres 

What constitutes radical art practice in the 21st century especially in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and a global pandemic? What new forms and formations of art-making can we envisage today? BLM as a social movement originated in the USA but resonates globally, with ‘Black’ serving as a signifier of multiple alterities. A discussion between boundary-pushing, award-winning artist Olu Oguibe, Ghanaian wunderkind Ibrahim Mahama and the artist and artworld builder, Deborah Anzinger.

WEEK 2: The Post-Colonial Museum, Global Art and National Self-Definition
April 23, 2021 | 12 noon to 1.30 pm
Participants: Kobena Mercer, Partha Mitter
Moderator: O’Neil Lawrence

What role should museums and national galleries play in the context of globalizing art worlds? What are the implications for national self-definition as diasporas grow? A look at problems of representation, neo-colonialism, competing nationalisms and their impact on art institutions today. Eminent art critic Kobena Mercer in conversation with the author of Much Maligned Monsters, the celebrated art historian Partha Mitter. 

WEEK 3: The Biennial and its Others
April 30, 2021 | 12.00 pm to 1.30 pm
Participants: David Scott, Bonaventure Ndikung, Zak Ove
Moderator: Amanda Coulson

The venerable biennial model has become and remained de rigeur for transnational exhibitions of art. But are other models emerging in the 21st century? A frank discussion of the pros and cons of large-scale art spectacles in an era when audiences are far-flung and socially distanced between editor of Small Axe and curator of the forthcoming Kingston Biennial, David Scott;  founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary Berlin. Bonaventure Ndikung; and Zak Ové, artist extraordinaire and curator of Get Up, Stand Up Now. 

WEEK 4: The Legacy of Okwui Enwezor
May 7 2021 | 12 noon to 1.30 pm
Participants: Mark Nash, Isaac Julien, Ute Meta Bauer
Moderator: Annie Paul

A titan who bestrode the global artworld, Okwui Enwezor famously altered its contours with his magisterial Documenta11. This panel brings together two of Enwezor’s Documenta co-curators Mark Nash and Ute Meta Bauer as well as one of the featured artists, the celebrated film-maker Isaac Julien, to discuss the Grief and Grievance exhibition at the New Museum and the current Documenta project memorializing Enwezor. The conversation will include Documenta11’s Créolité and Creolization platform held in St Lucia and Julien’s film, Paradise Omeros. 

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Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Roots Percussionist

For our March virtual Last Sundays event the National Gallery of Jamaica will feature a performance by Roots Percussionist. The virtual programme will premiere on both our YouTube and IGTV platforms at 1:30pm on March 28, 2021.

A two-time Grammy Nominated musician, Hector “Roots Percussionist” Lewis is a Jamaican Percussionist, Drummer, Vocalist and Music Director. He is currently the background vocalist and percussionist for the world renowned Reggae band, Chronixx and Zincfence Redemption and is endorsed by Regal Drumsticks from the United States as well as Tycoon Percussion in Thailand.

His love for music began in his days at church in his hometown of Spanish Town. This was bolstered by his mother, the talented and legendary Barbara Jones, who had a major influence on his approach to music and the creative arts. It was this passion that led him to studying at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where he met his mentor the late percussionist, Denver “Feluke” Smith, and earned himself a degree in Music Education and Performance. 

Hector’s stage name “Roots Percussionist” is inspired by the organically produced sound deeply-rooted within all types of Indigenous music, which he honours in all performance forms. Central to his unique sound is Rastafarianism culture – the connection between past and present and the celebration of the human spiritual experience. Roots Percussionist believes in music’s ability to heal, connect and create a transcendental experience. His musical capabilities span several genres – including Latin, Reggae, African, Punk, Rock, Pop, Bouyon, Calypso and of course Dancehall – which he often fuses in his continuous explorations of music. He is also accomplished in several instruments, including; Bungos, differently pitched Congas, Tangerines, Cow Bells, Shakers, Bells, Chimes, Timpani and Xylophone.

Since 2016, Roots Percussionist has headlined global tours alongside the critically-acclaimed Chronixx & Zincfence Redemption. He has worked on percussion and background vocals on live and recorded productions for several popular artists such as Jesse Royal, Lila Ike, Beres Hammond, Jaz Elise and the Marley family. Roots Percussionist has also performed at the Essence Festival 2020, NPR Tiny Desk Series, BBC 1Xtra Series, 2020 edition of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival as well as his hosting duties for the annual “Roots Reggae Day”. He released his first single “Outlaw” in 2019, produced by Dretegs and featuring US-based artistes QNA and Royal Khaoz. His follow-up single, “LOVE SAVIOUR”, was released in May 2020 and his next single, “Did It Again” is now available on all major streaming platforms.

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In Memoriam, Milton Harley (1935-2021)

Milton Harley – Mayan 1, (c1976), Collection: NGJ

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) is saddened by the news of the passing of one of Jamaica’s respected art pioneers, Milton Harley, who died on January 1, 2021.

Born in Kingston, 1935, Dr Harley migrated to the United States of America (USA) where he attended the Pratt Institute in New York and attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In pursuit of a professional career in visual arts, Dr Harley attended art institutions (between 1959-1976) in USA, Spain, Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom, to perfect his skills in areas such as graphic design, philosophy (aesthetics) and sculpture. He later earned his Doctor of Philosophy (PH.D.) in 1985 at the Centre for Postgraduate Studies in Education and Research, Leicester Polytechnic, United Kingdom.

After his exceptional educational journey, Dr Harley began his duties as a teacher at over thirteen different art educational institutions in Jamaica, Canada and the United Kingdom. His accomplishments as an artist included five solo exhibitions in Jamaica, New York and Spain and seventeen major group exhibitions in Jamaica, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Spain and Brazil. Dr Harley is a true stalwart, and a significant part of Jamaica’s artistic legacy.

The NGJ’s Board of Directors, management and staff offer our sincere condolences to Dr Harley’s family and friends.

For further information on this esteemed visual artist, see the following link to an article written by Senior Curator at the NGJ, Monique Barnett-Davidson:

Virtual Last Sundays ft. Tribe Sankofa

In celebration of Reggae Month the National Gallery of Jamaica presents a performance by Tribe Sankofa on February 28, 2021 for its Last Sundays event. The virtual programme will premiere on both our YouTube and IGTV platforms at 1:30pm.

Tribe Sankofa is a performing arts collective brought together by Fabian Thomas, A vibrant and eclectic group of multi-talented performers they have combined their artistry to add an exciting new dimension to the performing arts landscape both locally and internationally. Their niche is “…borrowed and original spoken word/poetry, soulful song-styling uniquely blended with other visual and performing arts”.

Tribe Sankofa has shared their unique offerings in diverse spaces including the Lignum Vitae Awards, Gungo Walk Alternative Music and Arts Festival, Arts in the Park and the Investiture of the Poet Laureate of Jamaica to name a few. In addition to multiple medals and awards at Tallawah Dramatic Arts Festival and the Jamaica Cultural Development’s Speech and Drama competitions, the collective has also staged its own productions: Black Bodies, A Tribe Ting and their signature annual production Word Soul. Tribe Sankofa was a featured performer at the Carifesta Symposium 2017 in Barbados. Rising above the challenges and restrictions of COVID-19, they presented their first virtual season in August 2020 entitled Word Soul: The ‘Covid-19 Naah Flop Wi Show’ Edition.

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Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Asabi

The National Gallery of Jamaica presents its first Last Sundays event for 2021 on January 31 with a performance by Asabi. The virtual programme will premiere on both our YouTube and IGTV platforms at 1:30pm.

Going by her middle name, Nailah Asabi Henry was born in Kingston Jamaica on July 19th, 1991. At the age of 8 she relocated to Port Antonio, Portland, where she lived up until she began attending the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) in Kingston, to pursue a degree in Jazz and Popular Music Studies.

After leaving EMCVPA Asabi went on to perform at many well-known Hotels across Jamaica, weddings and other special occasions. For her work she focused her attention on Jazz and Reggae but she always had a special love for dancehall that she was too shy to pursue. Asabi however, decided to take a leap and flow her passion of becoming a Dancehall and Reggae Recording Artist after taking a break from the music scene to start a family, as well as realizing that a corporate job did not make her soul sing as music did.

On May 1st 2020 Asabi released her debut single titled “Bamboo.” In late November she released her second single “Winey Don” on the Meraki Riddim, which feature artists such as Busy Signal and Chris Martin. Her third single “Caribbean Peach” is set for release on the 22nd of January.

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Virtual Last Sundays to ft. Nexus

To close the year, for our December Last Sundays the National Gallery of Jamaica will be having a special holiday performance by the Nexus Performing Arts Company on December 27, 2020 at 1:30pm. The video performance will premiere on our YouTube and IGTV platforms for you to enjoy.

Formed in 2001 by Hugh Douse, the Nexus Performing Arts Company is known for their powerful vocals and cultural performances. The company’s repertoire is drawn from several genres; gospel, Negro spirituals, semi-classical, popular music including reggae and show tunes, and African and classical music of the European and African traditions. Their costumes are vibrant, colourful and centre around cultural dress of the musical genres they embody. Nexus has performed on both local and international stages at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, the Beres Hammond Moment In Time Concert, the 2009 Jamaica Reggae Industry Awards Show, Jamaica’s National Honours and Awards Investiture Ceremony, the 2008 National Independence and Olympic Grand Galas, the IAAF World Junior Championships Opening Ceremony, the Cricket World Cup 2007 Opening Ceremony, and the National Actor Boy Awards.

In anticipation for the closing of this year 2020, we take the opportunity to wish all our patrons and their loved ones Happy Holidays, and a blessed New Year when it comes, from the Management and Staff of the National Gallery of Jamaica. This year has been unprecedented, forcing many Jamaicans and the rest of the global community to change the way we operate. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been challenges, lessons learnt and thankfully, moments of triumph. The pandemic continues, but the NGJ remains committed to the service of our fellow citizens and the world.  

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