Last Sundays – October 30, 2016, feat. Tribute to Cecil Cooper Exhibition and Music by Peter Lloyd

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The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) will have special opening hours for its Last Sundays on October 30, 2016. The gallery will exceptionally be open to the public from 1:00 to 5:00 pm on that day and will feature the Cecil Cooper Tribute exhibition and a special musical performance by Peter Lloyd, which will start at 2 pm.

October 30 will be the final day to see the National Gallery’s special tribute exhibition honouring renowned Jamaican painter, singer, art educator and NGJ Board member Cecil Cooper C.D. who passed away on September 15, 2016. This exhibit features work that spans his artistic career, including two works from the National Gallery Collection. Cooper worked mainly in paint media, using gestural painting and drawing techniques, and his thematic preoccupation with the joys and anxieties of the human condition, and particularly the central roles of women in society, reflected a romantic temperament that was also evident in his musical work as a classical tenor. Also on view are Selections from the National Collection, the Pre-Twentieth Century Galleries, The Edna Manley Galleries, The Kapo Galleries and the A.D. Scott Collection, which provide a wide-ranging overview of Jamaica’s artistic and cultural history.

International recording artist Peter Lloyd is one of Jamaica’s most respected entertainers. While he is best known as a singer and songwriter, he entered the creative industry as an actor and has also achieved a highly successful career in film and television and music production. His impressive music catalogue includes four number one singles – Tonight in Japan; Searching in the United States, UK and Jamaica, Oh My Darling in Jamaica and Blood On Your Hands worldwide. In recent years the acclaimed singer has had several Top10 singles, Wake Dem Up, Dance Hall Queen, Pose, and Gold Digga to name a few. Currently Peter Lloyd’s newest single Pure Love is poised to be the singer’s next major hit, with the momentum it has generated since its release in March 2016. Peter Lloyd is one of the finest live performers in the Reggae genre and has headlined major festivals and shows across Europe, United States of America and Jamaica. Among the singer’s notable achievements is a feature on CNN’s ROOTS: Our Journeys Home, becoming one of an exclusive group of reggae artiste to appear on CNN. “I give 100% for my fans; my life means nothing without them. My purpose is to heal the world, that’s why they call me the Love Messenger,” says Peter Lloyd.

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Peter Lloyd

As is customary, admission will be free on October 30 and there will also be free tours, but contributions to the National Gallery’s donations box are always appreciated. The NGJ gift and coffee shops will be open for business and proceeds from these ventures help to fund programmes such as Last Sundays. The gift shop is fully stocked for the Christmas gift-buying season.

Ebony G. Patterson’s Tribute to Cecil Cooper

Cecil Cooper - The Prayer (2016)

Cecil Cooper – The Prayer (2016)

Ebony G. Patterson spoke on behalf of Cecil Cooper‘s past students today at Cecil’s funeral. She has allowed us to publish her powerful tribute.

In moments like these we always think about the absence and somehow our words in these ceremonies are an attempt at filling up something we think is missing. It is difficult to see towers in our life fall. Mr Cooper was a mountain of a man, his presence filled the room’s corner. He was a passionate man who lived his life with incredible meaning. He gave so much of him self to his practice as an artist and gave even more of himself to his family, students, his community and country. He was an generous teacher who gave his students so much and he truly loved us. He was tough on us!  He challenged us constantly, always demanding more of us, more than we thought we were capable of.  And that’s the job of a teacher.  It is to see you beyond your potential. And in the moments of frustration he would say “you ever think about trying animal husbandry”?  Or slap his face.

He never minced his words but the good teachers rarely do. He knew we didn’t know what we were truly capable of and it was his responsibility to help us guide us beyond our imagination and help us to bloom. He saw us not as who we were but who we could be.  He would always say that he knew many of us would not go onto be artists, but regardless of this his responsibility was to discipline us, to send out in to the world as critically thinking,  problem-solving, challenging, engaging, thoughtful, meaningful individuals . He planted seeds in all of us, and we have in one way or another gone on and shared these seeds with others.  Those people we shared with have also planted these seeds in others. He did this beyond his 30 plus years of teaching and that means there are a lot of blooming trees.

Cecil Cooper - Head (2016)

Cecil Cooper – Abstract Face (Pale) Study (2016)

I am grateful that I had Mr Cooper as a mentor and, like our parents, we never imagine these anchors in our lives exiting. I couldn’t imagine myself without him in my own narrative. I hear him everyday I enter the studio, and when I speak to my own students.  I am grateful for the quiet moments we shared listening to Mutty Perkins in studio and talking about the political and social concerns of our country. But I think the most valuable lesson I learned from Mr Cooper as a student was the evidence his own of work, of his own rigour, of his own practice, of his commitment. This was clear every morning when he came to school with his toes drenched in paint.

So we thank you Mr Cooper for SEEING US, thank you for demanding more  of us, thank you seeing beyond our potential, thank you your love , and thank you for loving us even harder during those times of frustration, thank you for holding us accountable, thank you for the late night drive-bys at the studio to make sure we were working through the night, thanks you for advice about finances and family, thanks for encouraging others to buy our work to help support our ambitions, thank you for your vulnerability , thank you for teaching us about the value of hard work  and the fulfillment and gratification that come form this , thank you for  teaching us about the importance  of  helping to build our own communities, thank you for our discipline , thank you for your generosity,  thank you  for seeing us  and, most of all, thank you for allowing US to see you. Thank you for being present.

We are for ever your students and graduates of the Cecil Cooper School of Painting. Paint, sing, and live in Paradise. We love you.

National Gallery Pays Tribute to Cecil Cooper

Cecil Cooper at his studio in November 2015 (photograph courtesy of Donnette Zacca)

Cecil Cooper at his studio in November 2015 (Donnette Ingrid Zacca photograph)

The National Gallery of Jamaica has received the sad news of the passing of the renowned Jamaican painter, singer, and art educator Cecil Harvey Cooper, CD, on the morning of September 15, 2016.

Cecil Cooper was born in the parish of Hanover, Jamaica, in 1946 and was one of the first graduates, in 1966, of the full-time diploma that had been introduced at the Jamaica School of Art under the directorship of Barrington Watson. He also lived in the USA, where he studied and obtained a BFA and, later, an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Cecil Cooper in 1981 became the head of the painting department of his alma mater, the Jamaica School of Art, which is now part of the Edna Manley College. He continued in that position until his retirement in 2009 and has taught and mentored many noted younger artists, such as Omari Ra, Oneika Russell, Phillip Thomas and Ebony G. Patterson.

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Cecil Cooper – Night Horse (1993, Collection: NGJ)

Cecil Cooper worked mainly in paint media, using gestural painting and drawing techniques, and his thematic preoccupation with the joys and anxieties of the human condition, and particularly the central roles of women in society, reflected a romantic temperament that was also evident in his musical work as a classical tenor. He exhibited regularly at the National Gallery of Jamaica, Harmony Hall, the Mutual Gallery and, most recently, Round Hill and the Olympia Art Gallery, and at overseas galleries such as the Savacou Gallery in New York City. His work is represented in many private, corporate and public collections, including the collection of the National Gallery of Jamaica.

Senator the Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson, the Chairman of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Board of Management, paid tribute to Cecil Cooper “as one of the artists who had charted the direction of Jamaican art in recent decades, through his outstanding artistic work and his distinguished service to institutions such as the National Gallery and the Edna Manley College.” Dr Veerle Poupeye, the National Gallery’s Executive Director, hailed Cecil Cooper as “an artist who was completely immersed in his art as a way of life, and a passionate art educator who challenged his students to be and do their best at all times.”

Cecil Cooper and Prime Minister Holness at the opening of his Milestone exhibition, Olympia Art Gallery, June 17, 2016 (Donnette Ingrid Zacca photograph)

Cecil Cooper and Prime Minister Holness at the opening of his Milestone exhibition, Olympia Art Gallery, June 17, 2016 (Donnette Ingrid Zacca photograph)

Cecil Cooper had celebrated his 70th birthday in June 2016, with a major exhibition of work from 1978 to 2016, titled Milestone: Cecil Cooper at 70, which was held at the Olympia Art Gallery. He had on September 6, 2016, received the Jamaican National Honour, the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, for his invaluable contribution to the arts. Earlier on, in 1993, he had also been awarded the Institute of Jamaica’s Bronze Musgrave Medal for his contribution to painting and art education. Cecil Cooper was a member of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s current Board of Management and had also previously served in this capacity.

The Board, Management and Staff of the National Gallery of Jamaica extend their sincere condolences to Cecil Cooper’s wife Rose, his children, other members of his family, and his many friends.

Cecil Cooper - untitled (2016)

Cecil Cooper – untitled (2016)

National Gallery of Jamaica Congratulates Dr David Boxer, Other Associates on their National Honours

Dr the Hon. David Boxer, OJ, with artist Hope Brooks, at the conferment ceremony at his home on August 9, 2016

Dr the Hon. David Boxer, OJ, with artist Hope Brooks, at the conferment ceremony at his home on August 9, 2016

The Board, Management and Staff of the National Gallery of Jamaica wish to express their delight at the announcement that the following artists and associates of the National Gallery are among the recipients of the 2016 National Honours, which were announced on Independence Day, August 6. They are: Dr David Boxer, CD, who is conferred with the Order of Jamaica; Senator Thomas Tavares-Finson, QC, Cecil Cooper, and Basil Watson, who are receiving the Order of Distinction (Commander class); and Alexander Cooper, who is receiving the Order of Distinction (Officer rank).

Dr David Wayne Boxer, CD is an eminent Jamaican art historian, curator, artist and collector. He was educated at Cornell University and the Johns Hopkins University, where he obtained his PhD in Art History. Dr Boxer joined the National Gallery of Jamaica in 1975 as Director/Curator and held this position until 1991, when he became Chief Curator. He retired from the National Gallery in 2013. During Dr Boxer’s tenure, the National Gallery developed from a fledgling institution to what is now the largest and most prominent national art museum in the English-speaking Caribbean, with an extensive collection of Jamaican and other art and an active and diverse exhibitions programme. Dr Boxer is widely recognized for his scholarship on Jamaican art, particularly on the work of Edna Manley, the Intuitives and early Jamaican photography, on which he has published extensively. Dr Boxer is also an internationally recognized artist, whose mixed media work addresses postcolonial politics and existential angst by means of complex references to art history and visual culture. Dr Boxer is conferred with the Order of Jamaica for his “invaluable contribution to the National Gallery of Jamaica and the development of Jamaican art.” He was previously conferred with the Order of Distinction (Commander class), and is also the recipient of the Gold Musgrave and Centenary Medals of the Institute of Jamaica. Dr Boxer, who has been ailing, received the Order of Jamaica today, Tuesday, August 9, at a special ceremony at his home.

Senator Thomas Tavares-Finson, CD, QC, Chairman of the NGJ

Senator Thomas Tavares-Finson, CD, QC, Chairman of the NGJ

Senator Thomas George Lewis Tavares-Finson, QC, is a noted Jamaican politician, attorney-at-law and art collector. He was educated at McMaster University; the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London; and the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. Senator Tavares-Finson has been a nominated commissioner of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica since 2006 and previously served as a member of the Electoral Advisory Committee from 2005-2006. Senator Tavares-Finson is presently the President of the Senate and was called to the Inner Bar earlier this year. He was recently appointed as the Chairman of the National Gallery and had also previously served on its Board. Senator Tavares-Finson is conferred with the Order of Distinction (Commander class) for his “distinguished contribution to the Electoral Commission and the legal profession.”

Cecil Cooper at his studio in November 2015 (photograph courtesy of Donnette Zacca)

Cecil Cooper, CD, at his studio in November 2015 (photograph courtesy of Donnette Zacca)

Cecil Harvey Cooper is a noted and influential Jamaican painter, art educator and singer. Cecil Cooper was educated at the Jamaica School of Art, now the Edna Manley College, and also attended that Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He served as the head of the Painting department of the Edna Manley College from 1981 to his retirement in 2009. He has exhibited widely in Jamaica and internationally and his work is represented in major art collections, including the National Gallery of Jamaica collection. Cecil Cooper is also a classical tenor, renowned for his powerful voice and operatic delivery. He has previously served as a Board member of the National Gallery of Jamaica and was recently reappointed to the Board. Cecil Cooper is conferred with the Order of Distinction (Commander class) for his “invaluable contribution to the arts.”

Basil Watson CD

Basil Watson, CD

Basil Barrington Watson is an internationally recognized Jamaican sculptor who was educated at what is now the Edna Manley College. Basil Watson, who is also a superb draughtsman, is acclaimed for his daringly balanced, dynamic depictions of the human form. His many public and private art commissions in Jamaica including the statues of Merlene Ottey and Herb McKenley at the National Stadium; the sculpture “Balance” at the Doctors Cave Bathing Club in Montego Bay; and various sculpture commissions for the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, including “Emerging Nation” in Holruth Park. Mr  Watson has previously served on the National Gallery Board. He is the son of the late Prof. the Hon. Barrington Watson, OJ, Jamaican master painter. Basil Watson is conferred with the Order of Distinction (Commander class) for his “outstanding contribution in the field of Jamaican art.”

Alexander Cooper, OD, at this studio

Alexander Cooper, OD, at this studio

Joshua Alexander Cooper is a major Jamaican painter who emerged during the Independence period. He was an early student of the then Jamaica School of Art and Craft in the 1950s and also attended the New York School of Visual Art and the Art Student League. While his diverse oeuvre also includes gestural abstractions, Alexander Cooper is today best known for his whimsical depictions of street life in Downtown Kingston in times past. Mr Cooper has previously served on the National Gallery Board. Alexander Cooper is receiving the Order of Distinction (Officer rank) for his “outstanding contribution to the arts.”

The Board, Management and Staff of the National Gallery of Jamaica extend their heartfelt congratulations to Dr David Boxer, Senator Tom Tavares-Finson, Cecil Cooper, Basil Watson and Alexander Cooper on their well-earned National Honours.