Global Conversations Series: The Biennial and its Others

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) presents the third episode in the Global Conversations Series entitled The Biennial and its Others on Friday, April 30 2021 at 12 noon. Moderated by Amanda Coulson, the panellists will include Bonaventure Ndikung, Zak Ové and David Scott. The discussion will be held live on the NGJ’s YouTube channel and will include a 30 minute segment for audience participation. 

The Biennial and its Others

The venerable biennial model has become and remained de rigeur for transnational exhibitions of art. But are other models emerging in the 21st century? This conversation will be a frank discussion of the pros and cons of large-scale art spectacles in an era when audiences are far-flung and socially distanced.

Amanda Coulson

Amanda Coulson is the outgoing Executive Director of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). She has worked as a scholar, critic, curator and cultural producer, having collaborated with artists and institutions, as well as private and corporate colleagues both regionally and internationally. Prior to her post at NAGB, Coulson was a co-founder of the VOLTA contemporary art fairs where she focused on increasing international awareness of the contemporary Caribbean art scene, expanding the scope of the institution and building strong inter-island and international networks. She served on the Davidoff Art Initiative (now the Caribbean Art Initiative) Board from 2012-2018 and currently serves on the Board of the Museums Association of the Caribbean (MAC).

Bonaventure Ndikung

Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung is an independent curator, author and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and the artistic director of sonsbeek 20–24, a quadrennial contemporary art exhibition in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Ndikung was the curator-at-large for Adam Szymczyk’s Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany (2017); a guest curator of the Dak’Art biennale in Dakar, Senegal (2018); and the artistic director of the 12th Bamako Encounters photography biennial in Mali (2019). Alongside the Miracle Workers Collective, he curated the Finland Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2019). He is currently a professor in the Spatial Strategies MA program at the Weissensee Academy of Art, Berlin and is a recipient of the first OCAD University International Curators Residency fellowship in Toronto, 2020. 

Zak Ové

Zak Ové is a London based multi-disciplinary artist working in film, sculpture and photography to reclaim old world mythologies in new world source materials and technologies. His fascination with the interplay between antiquity and the future is inspired by masking rituals and traditions of Trinidadian carnival that is itself rooted in a struggle for emancipation. His use of non-traditional materials: copper, wood, Victoriana and other found materials, situates the work in the metropoles of Europe and the Americas where they merge and mutate into endless possibilities and unexpected identities.

David Scott

David Scott is the Ruth and William Lubic Professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of Formations of Ritual: Colonial and Anthropological Discourses on the Sinhala Yaktovil (1994), Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality (1999), Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (2004), Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (2014), and Stuart Hall’s Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity (2017). Scott is also the founder and editor of the journal Small Axe, and director of the Small Axe Project. He is also the curatorial director of the exhibition, the Visual Life of Social Affliction, and the forthcoming Kingston Biennial, 2021.

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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