On Thursday, March 29, 2018, the National Gallery of Jamaica will be hosting a panel discussion entitled Portraits and Abstraction: A Conversation at 1:30 pm. This event will function as a reflection on our most recent exhibitions Explorations V: Portraits in Dialogue and Explorations VI: Engaging Abstraction, which ran from December 19, 2017 to March 25, 2018. The discussion will be moderated by independent writer and curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson and will feature Senior Curator O’Neil Lawrence and Assistant Curator, Monique Barnett-Davidson, curators of the latest installments in the National Gallery’s Explorations exhibition series which was initiated in 2013.
Portraits in Dialogue examined the significance and conflicted politics of artistic portraiture in the development of Jamaican art from the 18th century to the present, looking at issues such as race, class, gender, as well as the ideas about art and the artist that are reflected in the portrait. Engaging Abstraction examined abstraction as a modern image making approach that deviates from the more literal and popularized representational choices practiced by artists from Jamaica, the Caribbean and its Diaspora. The significant impact of abstraction on Jamaican and Caribbean art can seen in our collection which features numerous works of art that qualify as abstract, or at least as abstracted.
The exhibitions presented the foundations of two distinct yet dominant groups of representational choices practiced by artists, choices that can still be observed in contemporary artwork. Whether treated as separate disciplines or hybridized through a plethora of media, contemporary artists essentially make one of the two choices to explore an immense diversity of subject matter which include the social, the corporeal or the philosophical. The curators of the National Gallery of Jamaica have reflected upon these concepts and ideas throughout some of its most recent and successful exhibitions and felt that the next edition of the Explorations series should explore these trends as historical continuities that are evidenced in our national collection.
The public forum Portraits and Abstraction: A Conversation is free and open to the public. Brochures for the exhibitions will be on sale in the National Gallery Gift Shop.
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.
The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present the panel discussion We Have Met Before, Revisited, which will take place at the National Gallery on Friday, October 13, 2017, starting at 1:45 pm. The discussion is presented as part of the Edna Manley College’s Rex Nettleford Arts Conference 2017, for which the National Gallery serves as a partner institution. The panel discussion will be chaired by Nicole Smythe-Johnson, Independent Curator. The panellists are: Moji Anderson, Lecturer, Sociology, Psychology and Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, UWI-Mona; Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, British Council Country Director, Jamaica; Leasho Johnson, Jamaican artist in We Have Met Before; and Herbie Miller, Director, Jamaica Music Museum, Institute of Jamaica.
The panel discussion is part of the programming for We Have Met Before, which on view at the National Gallery until November 4, 2017 and which is presented in collaboration with the British Council. The exhibition explores a group of contemporary and artistic interpretations of legacies of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and chattel slavery in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. Each of the four featured artists – Graham Fagen (Scotland), Joscelyn Gardner (Barbados), Leasho Johnson (Jamaica) and Ingrid Pollard (Guyana/England) – delves into archival material, popular culture and personal perspective to develop and substantiate visual iconographies that present actual and imagined narratives about the African enslaved and their descendants. Combined, their work invites new perspectives and dialogues on what is well-established subject in Caribbean art. We Have Met Before is presented in collaboration with the British Council.
We Have Met Before opens at the National Gallery of Jamaica on September 22 and is staged in partnership with the British Council. The exhibition features Graham Fagen (Scotland), Joscelyn Gardner (Barbados/Canada), Ingrid Pollard (Guyana/UK), and Leasho Johnson (Jamaica) and revisits the challenging but important subject of trans-Atlantic slavery and its afterlives in the contemporary world, interpreted by four artists with distinctive perspectives.
As part of the accompanying programmes for We Have Met Before, the National Gallery of the Jamaica and the British Council will present a panel discussion on the issues raised by the exhibition on Saturday, September 23, starting at 1:30 pm. The panel will consist of three of the artists in the exhibition, Graham Fagen, Joscelyn Gardner and Ingrid Pollard, while Deborah Anzinger will speak about Leasho Johnson’s work. The panel will be moderated by Shani Roper, acting Director/Curator of Liberty Hall, the Legacy of Marcus Garvey.
The panel discussion, which will take place at the National Gallery of Jamaica, is free and open to the public and those in attendance will also have the opportunity to view the exhibition, which continues until November 4, 2017.
The National Gallery of Jamaica, in association of with the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and NLS (New Local Space), are pleased to present a public lecture by the Trinidadian artist, writer and curator Christopher Cozier on Wednesday, January 11, at 12:30 pm in the School of Visual Arts Lecture Room at the Edna Manley College.
Christopher Cozier was born in 1959, in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, where he lives and works. 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; the Eli and Edith Bread Museum at MSU; TEOR/ética, San Jose, Costa Rica; and the TATE Liverpool. 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. Christopher Cozier is one of the international judges for the juried section of the Jamaica Biennial 2017.
Cozier’s lecture, titled Actions Between Territories, will discuss the potential free/play spaces that Caribbean artists are constantly imagining, constructing, and navigating, including in his own creative practice and at Alice Yard. He will also discuss how the established idea of the Caribbean persists—as a viable fiction, as a site of exchange, an owned product or territory traded between various beneficiaries, internal and external.
The lecture is free and open to the public but artists and art students are especially encouraged to attend. The Edna Manley College is located at 1 Arthur Wint Drive, Kingston 5. Parking is available on campus.
The National Gallery of Jamaica invites educators and teachers-in-training to attend our third annual one-day seminar entitled Art Exhibitions as Teaching Tools, which will be held on Friday, November 18, 2016. The seminar will take place from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm, at the National Gallery, and is offered free of cost. Developed specifically for persons who provide education services to student groups from early childhood to secondary school level, the seminar provides an introduction to understanding exhibitions and explores several approaches for developing lesson activities derived from taking student groups to visit exhibitions and displays of artwork in a museum or any other location. The content and activities of the seminar will be presented by members of the NGJ Education Department and will focus on utilizing aspects of the permanent display to illustrate three main topic areas:
- An Introduction to Exhibitions
- Utilizing an Art Exhibition as an Educational Resource
- Case Study
Though the seminar is based in the practice of art museums, the tour as well as education strategies that will be explored can also be applied to a number of other subject areas. The annual teachers’ seminar, which was initiated in 2014, has enjoyed very positive feedback from past attendees and we look forward to having you join us. Interested persons should contact the Education Department at 922-1561 for further information; no pre-registration is required.