The National Biennial: A Catalyst in the Development of Jamaican Art

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On December 12, the National Gallery of Jamaica will open the 2010 National Biennial, the fifth edition since the biennial was established in 2002. The National Biennial is the successor of a long tradition of national exhibitions in Jamaica, which dates from 1938, when the first All Island Exhibition of Art and Craft was held at St George’s Hall in Kingston. This exhibition was a private initiative by members of the nationalist intelligentsia. The Institute of Jamaica took over the baton in 1940, when it began to stage its annual All-Island Exhibitions. In 1968 the Institute of Jamaica also established the annual Self-Taught Artists exhibition, which ran concurrent with the older exhibition for several years, but featured work by amateur and self-taught artists, while the All Island Exhibition became the domain of the professional artists. The two exhibitions were merged into a single exhibition, the Annual National Exhibition when the National Gallery, which started operations in 1974, took over responsibility for the major annual art exhibitions that had previously been staged by its parent organization, the Institute of Jamaica. The Annual National Exhibition was held annually from 1977 to 2001 and is thus the immediate precursor of the National Biennial.

The decision to move from annual to biennial in 2002 was motivated by a number of factors but two stand out: we wished to give participating artists more time in between these national exhibitions to produce significant work suitable for an exhibition of this caliber and we also needed to make space in our programmes for exhibitions that provide much-needed alternate perspectives on Jamaican art and a greater diversity of curatorial perspectives, such as the guest-curated Curator’s Eye series and the Young Talent series, which features the work of some of Jamaica’s most promising young artists. Continue reading

Call for Entries – 2010 National Biennial

Installation View, National Biennial III, 2008

The NGJ is launching its call for entries to the 2010 National Biennial, the fourth edition of this biennial national exhibition which succeeded the Annual National Exhibition in 2004. This year’s biennial, the National Biennial IV, will be held from December 12, 2010 to March 5, 2011. As has become customary, the National Biennial IV will include special tributes to any artists who have been granted Musgrave medals in 2009 or 2010. There will also be a special tribute to the late Jamaican master Albert Huie, who passed away in 2010.

The exhibition comprises an invited and a juried section. The invited section accommodates artists who have, in the estimation of the NGJ’s Exhibitions Committee, achieved a significant record of achievement and national or international acclaim. The juried section is open to all Jamaican artists and all artists resident in Jamaica and selections will be made by a panel of judges appointed by the NGJ’s Exhibitions Committee. The rules and regulations of the exhibition are attached, along with the entry forms for the juried exhibition.  Entries to the juried Invited artists will be notified and will receive their entry forms directly.

National Biennial 2010 – rules and regulations

National Biennial 2010 entry form – Juried

Installation view - National Biennial III, 2008 - tribute to Musgrave medallists Howard Moo-Young and Phillip Supersad

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Schedule for the Remainder of 2010

The following is an overview of our plans for the remainder of the calendar year:

Michael Elliott - Loa Arise (2010) - Michael Elliott is one of the 14 young artists featured in Young Talent V

Young Talent V (until July 10): Last chance! If you have not yet seen it, or wish to see it again, next week is your last chance to see the exhibition in its entirety. Selections from the exhibition will however stay on view until the end of August.

Art on the Waterfront (July 12 – 30): The MultiCare Foundation and the NGJ are staging their annual art summer camp for children. Studio sessions will be held at nearby Studio 174 but the programme makes extensive use of the NGJ’s resources, by means of tours, gallery games and studio projects inspired by the art on view on in the permanent and temporary exhibitions. The programme is designed for children and teens from 6 to 18 years old and a limited number of spaces are still available. The participation fee is $ 1,000 per week.

2010 National Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition (July 25-August 28, 2010): The NGJ’s annual collaboration with JCDC opens to the public on Sunday, July 25 at 3 pm and remains on view for one month. As has become customary, admission fees to the NGJ are waived for the duration of this exhibition (tour fees still apply). This juried exhibition comprises a youth and adult section and attracts multiple medals and prizes, including a prize of the public. Visitors to the exhibition can participate in the voting for the latter from July 25 to August 7. Continue reading