Annabella and Peter Proudlock Collection – Gallery 4: Harmony Hall Intuitives

 

This is, for now, our final post on the Annabella and Peter Proudlock Collection exhibition, which continues until November 4.

Jamaica has a long and rich history of popular and self-taught art but this has not always been fully valued and documented. There have however been several major efforts over the years to recognize the artistic mastery and significance of artists who have come out of this sphere. This started with the recognition of John Dunkley and David Miller Senior and Junior by the nationalist intelligentsia in the 1930s and 40s. In the 1960s, as Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds—a Revivalist bishop — received significant support from the young politician Edward Seaga and Jamaica’s first Director of Tourism, John Pringle. Kapo’s personality and work were, for instance, used in the Tourist Board Board advertising, as part of a campaign to convey that Jamaica was more than just a beach but had a rich and distinctive culture – a campaign which paved the way for later cultural tourism initiatives such as Harmony Hall. The emergence of the Rastafari movement in the 1960s also helped to validate and give visibility to popular cultural production.

The defining moment of what is now labelled as Intuitive art came with the National Gallery of Jamaica’s ground-breaking Intuitive Eye exhibition in 1979,which featured the work of a wide range of self-taught, popular artists such as Dunkley, the Millers and Kapo, as well as several newer exponents.  This exhibition was curated by David Boxer, the National Gallery’s Director/Curator at that time, who coined the term “Intuitive,” as an alternative to derogatory terms such as “primitive” and “naïve.” While the National Gallery’s promotion of the Intuitives was not uncontroversial, it was supported by a passionate group of collectors and enthusiasts. This included Annabella Proudlock, who had been friendly with artists such as Kapo since the 1970s, and Harmony Hall, which opened in 1981, quickly became the main private counterpart of the National Gallery in the promotion of the Intuitives.

Harmony Hall is best known, locally and internationally, for its association with Intuitive art, and particularly its Harmony Hall Intuitives exhibitions, which were held annually from 1982 to 2014. Annabella and Peter Proudlock maintained a close, supportive relationship with the Intuitive artists they exhibited over the years. Not surprisingly, the Intuitives are very well represented in their collection, with many of the works acquired from the Harmony Hall Intuitives exhibitions or directly from the artists.

This gallery highlights works by Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds, Albert Artwell, Allan “Zion” Johnson and Birth “Ras Dizzy” Livingston – all major exponents of Intuitive art. It includes early works by these artists that were acquired before Harmony Hall was established and owned by Annabella, which also illustrates that there was a longer history of association which paved the way for what was later achieved at Harmony Hall.

Annabella and Peter Proudlock Collection – Gallery 3: Living with Art

Another post on the Annabella and Peter Proudlock Collection exhibition, which is on view at the NGJ until November 4.

The thematic structure of this exhibition is designed to encourage the viewer to approach the works on display for their potential to tell particular aspects of the story of Ogden-Proudlock family, and it is important to note that they lived with all of these works at their Te Moana home, in configurations which were often quite different from what is presented in these galleries. This gallery attempts a more intimate look at what it meant to “live” with this extensive collection and the installation in this section reflects less of the conventional gallery aesthetic and more of the reality of living with a large collection.

There were interesting demarcations within the Proudlock home, with the more public areas of the living room displaying their beloved Jamaican Intuitives, most of which are to be found in Gallery Four, but which are represented here by the works of Zaccheus Powell and William “Woody” Joseph. The living area also featured works by friends such as Lisa Remeny, whose surreal work depicted daily life at Te Moana itself, Graham Davis, and Jonathan Routh (whose works on the Harmony Hall theme can be seen in Gallery Two). The exuberance found in the colours and subject matter of the “tourist” art that was mounted in their large kitchen reflected their travels to locales such as Haiti and Costa Rica, while the more intimate areas of the bedrooms held works that were more restful or of personal significance, such as Angela Landels’ portraits of Annabella, Sebastian and Jessica in Gallery One, or works by close friends and frequent Harmony Hall exhibitors such as Colin Garland, Albert Huie and Graham Davis.

Annabella and Peter Proudlock Collection – Gallery 2: The Harmony Hall Story

 

Another post on the Annabella and Peter Proudlock Collection exhibition, which continues until November 4.

Harmony Hall was originally built in 1886 and was renovated and restored in 1980-81, opening on November 14, 1981 as a gallery and craft centre, with a restaurant on the ground floor.

Harmony Hall attempted to bridge the gap between what has at times been disparagingly referred to as “tourist art” and the local and regional art worlds. It quickly became the premier North Coast gallery, known for its promotion of a wide variety of mainstream artists and craftsmen, but primarily the Jamaican Intuitives, and featured works by artists such as George Rodney, Colin Garland, Albert Huie, Zaccheus Powell, Everald Brown and Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds. That Annabella Proudlock, who was Harmony Hall’s Managing Director, and her husband Peter Proudlock, who was also a partner in Harmony Hall, collected most of the artists they exhibited at Harmony Hall reflects the close and supportive working relationships they maintained with these artists and their collection thus also tells the story of Harmony Hall.

The handsome Victorian-style Harmony Hall building quickly became a landmark, and was recognized as a national monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust in 2003. It appears as a subject in the work of several of the artists in this exhibition and these tributes also stand as a testament to the lasting and productive relationships that were built by its proprietors. Welcome to Harmony Hall (2006) by Michael Parchment depicts an active, cheerful space filled with patrons; Irise’s Blue Hole at Harmony Hall (1987) reflects on the beauty of the building, and several of Jonathan Routh’s raucously politically incorrect works place Harmony Hall in various fictitious historical contexts and pay tribute to the rising profile of the gallery.

Annabella and Peter Proudlock Collection – Introduction

 

The Annabella and Peter Proudlock Collection exhibition opens this Sunday, July 30, and will continue until November 4. This is the first of a series of posts based on the text panels in the exhibition.

The Annabella and Peter Proudlock Collection exhibition features a generous, near-complete selection from the joint collection of Annabella and Peter Proudlock, which forms the largest part of this exhibition, along with works that were owned by Annabella and her family before her marriage to Peter, and two works that were previously part of these collections but are now owned by others, Annabella’s son Sebastian Ogden and her friend and associate Maxine Walters.

The exhibition provides a vivid picture of the lives, artistic interests, professional and personal relationships, and cultural entrepreneurship of several personalities who have played a vital role in the development of Jamaican art, individually and through Harmony Hall, which has been the premier art gallery and craft centre on the Jamaican North Coast since it opened in 1981. Much of the work in this exhibition was acquired from Harmony Hall exhibitions and a number of works actually depict the Harmony Hall building.

The central personality in the stories told by this exhibition is Annabella Ogden Proudlock, who was the Managing Director of Harmony Hall until she passed away in 2015. Annabella (née McCartney), a successful London – based fashion model, fell in love with Jamaica when she visited for a swimsuit shoot for Silhouette in 1966 and moved to the island that same year. She worked with Operation Friendship, an inner-city charity in Kingston, from 1966 to 1978, and was responsible for that organization’s pioneering and very successful local Christmas card programme, which featured the work of children in the programme and various local artists.

After the death of her first husband, English-born cinematographer, artist, musician and writer David Ogden in 1978, she moved to Ocho Rios in 1979 and started the production of the Annabella Boxes, finely crafted cedar boxes with reproductions of Jamaican art that quickly became a classic in the local craft industry. The following year, she was part of the team that acquired and restored the Harmony Hall building. Annabella oversaw most of the artistic direction at Harmony Hall for nearly twenty-five years and is best known for her close, supportive work with the artists and craft producers who exhibited and sold their work at Harmony Hall, especially the Intuitives. She served on the National Gallery of Jamaica Board for many years, until 2012, and in later life became an artist in her own right, who produced meditative collages from shells and other found sea objects. This exhibition is also our tribute to Annabella.

Annabella and David had two children, Sebastian, who is a graphic designer and advertising executive, and Jessica, who is a fashion designer and textile artist. Peter Proudlock, a chartered accountant, moved to Jamaica from England in 1981 and became a partner in Harmony Hall. He and Annabella got married in 1985 and he continued managing the gallery after she passed away in 2015, until his own death in 2016.

Harmony Hall, which is located near Ocho Rios in Tower Isle, St Mary, was constructed in 1886, as part of a pimento plantation and served as a Methodist manse. It had been modernized and served as a family home in the 20th century until it came on the market in 1979-80. The house was lovingly restored by a team consisting of Annabella, Graham Davis, the architect Ben Eales and the artist and designer Dawn Scott, who designed the fretwork decorations that were based on traditional Jamaican patterns. The building was in 2003 recognized as a National Monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.

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