As part of our programming for Black History Month, the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) will be hosting a special event on Saturday February 17, 2018, at 1:30 pm entitled 21ST Century Kapo. Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds is considered to be Jamaica’s foremost Intuitive artists; and the newly reinstalled gallery features a selection of sculptures and paintings from the Larry Wirth Collection, the John Pringle Collection and the Aaron and the Marjorie Matalon Collection. The works in these galleries showcase the broad subject matter and iconography that Kapo explored and highlight the cultural significance of this artist.

The Kapo Gallery – which is one of only two NGJ galleries that are dedicated to single artists – was reopened on January 28 after being closed for almost a year; 21st Century Kapo will give the public an opportunity to learn more about this artist and engage in a discussion of his legacy and relevance to Jamaicans today.

21ST Century Kapo will feature a special screening of the archival film, Kapo the Artist, which first aired on BBC TWO in 1986. In it Kapo speaks about his life and work as an artist and Revivalist leader, it features commentary by Dr. David Boxer, Professor Rex Nettleford and Ambassador Dudley Thompson among others. The screening will be followed by a short, candid discussion between Dr. Clinton Hutton, Professor of Caribbean Political Philosophy, Culture and Aesthetics (University of the West Indies, Mona) and NGJ Senior Curator, O’Neil Lawrence.

Attendance to 21ST Century Kapo is free of cost and is open to the public. Visitors are being encouraged to view the newly reinstalled galleries prior to the beginning of the discussion.


Natural Histories: Some Notes on Maps

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Power comes from the map and it traverses the way maps are made. The key to this internal power is thus cartographic process. By this I mean the way maps are compiled and the categories of information selected; the way they are generalized, a set of rules for the abstraction of the landscape; the way the elements in the landscape are formed into hierarchies; and the way various rhetorical styles that also reproduce power are employed to represent the landscape. To catalogue the world is to appropriate it, so that all these technical processes represent acts of control over its image which extend beyond the professed uses of cartography.

J.B. Harley (1989)

The NGJ holds a fine collection of fourteen historical maps of Jamaica and the Caribbean region, which are part of the Aaron and Marjorie Matalon Collection. One of these maps the 1786 Carte de l’Ile de la Jamaïque, which was based on an English survey and published by the Dépôt de la Marine in France, a publisher of nautical maps, is currently featured in the Natural Histories exhibition. Several others, including the earliest known, 1528 map of Jamaica by the Venetian Benedetto Bordone, can be viewed in our permanent galleries, where they invite interesting ideological and aesthetic comparisons with the topographical art of the colonial period, the estate and city views. While not usually intended as “art” and more obviously significant as historical documents, the historical maps in our collection possess a peculiar visual poetry, as diagrammatic representations of a changing vision of the world, and in this case, of the island of Jamaica.

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