NGJ Summer Exhibition: Albert Chong

Albert Chong

Albert Chong - Throne for Ancestors Series

Albert Chong – Throne for Ancestors Series

When I was still living in Brooklyn, New York in 1987, I picked up a discarded chair from the streets of my neighborhood in Williamsburg. I took it home and set to work covering the exposed wood of this wicker chair with the dried and preserved skin of salted codfish. Why the skin of salted Cod you may ask? Salted Cod is an essential ingredient in the national dish of my home country Jamaica. This is because Canada was a colony of England during slavery and it was imported as a protein source for slave rations. The chair was then used in the creation of the photograph titled Throne for the Ancestors. At the time of the making of this work I did not have a significant reason for its creation. At the time I was very interested in the idea of Art Brut or the notion of art being a deeply primitive aesthetic trait that is but the vessel or medium for the transmission of culturally abstract notions, ideas and concepts of human expression that can not be presented in any other means but the visual. 

I was interested in the notion of the Intuitive Artist, one who could locate, focus and transmit the obscure messages and images, sounds and dance that were the cultural signifiers that were embedded and confused within the bodies and consciousness of the survivors of slavery, poverty, servitude in effect the Post Colonial condition. I was searching for a model of the modern artist as a contemporary manifestation of the shaman. I was also in quest for the very elusive thesis of African and Asian retentions in the genetic descendants of those cultures that are usually most clearly expressed in the arts. 

Albert Chong - Throne for Ancestors Series detail

Albert Chong – Throne for Ancestors Series (detail)

The Thrones were created based on this premise in which I would try to create work that was not conceived along the usual Eurocentric norms of representation. Instead the goal was to try to reconnect with an ancient collective consciousness. The series gets its name from the title of the above mentioned work from 1987. Thrones are transcendent chairs that were the primary visual symbol of the power of Rule or Royalty, only the crown is the other most recognizable symbol. I have over the years developed a cursory interest in chairs/thrones and have endeavored to embellish and transform found chairs into thrones that were named based on the entities that they represented. The Thrones functioned not unlike shrines or altars to spirits or deities and served as the seat of mystical power in invoking the presences of the Ancestors. 

Throne for the Justice 1991 is based on my father and is graced with his image on the seat. While Throne for Mr. Baker is about my paternal grandfather and he is represented with a clay head while still others are dedicated to the Orishas or saints or spirit forces of Santeria. 

Albert Chong, May 30, 2019

Instagram: @albert_v_chong
Facebook: Albert Chong – The Works


NGJ Summer Exhibition: Claudia Porges Beyer

Claudia Porges Beyer

Claudia Porges Beyer - In the GArden - NG036

Claudia Porges Beyer – In the Garden


I experiment with found objects, mosaic patterns, vegetable and floral forms. In the last decade I have created a technique constructing multi-layered resin reliefs, in which I strive to generate a contradiction between structural deepness and a glossy surface. Incorporating the different places I have lived and worked, especially the Caribbean which I regard as home- I seek to blur the boundaries between art and illustration, to enter a sphere of feminist playfulness. 

Instagram: @claudiasxm

NGJ Summer Exhibition: Ralston Bennett

Ralston Bennett

Ralston Bennett - CaNG211 (2)

Ralston Bennett – H.I.M

The artwork of His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie, is done to simulate stained glass and could serve as a double viewed art piece, in all, a kind of spiritual interpretation through transparency and illumination.

NGJ Summer Exhibition: Dwane Bailey

Dwane Bailey

Dwane Bailey - Road to Bamboo Town - NG039

Dwane Bailey – Road to Bamboo Town

As an artist, without the ability to actualize an idea or concept my art would not exist. My work is a constant search for the best way to interpret the ideas that I have about myself and the world we live in.

I do not limit myself to a single medium, style or concept. Inspiration and ideas change. Knowledge changes. Each piece I create is simultaneously an extension of the past, the beauty that exists in the ruins of our ancestors and society, where I live, where I come from and what I’ve learned, it is also a preview of the future, where I am going.

Part of my process before painting is to read as much as I can about the specific set of ruins that am about to recreate on canvas. I merely want to capture, the image with my brushes, or rather, with colourful strokes. I want to give that society life once more with every finished piece of art. I try my best to breathe life into a long forgotten culture, and speak not only for me but also for those who went silent long ago.

Jamaican Art Exhibition in Cayman

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to report that a exhibition of Jamaican art, Jamaican Art from the 1960s and 1970s, is presently on view at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands in Grand Cayman. The exhibition, which opened on Friday, March 21 to an enthusiastic capacity audience and continues until May 15, is the second Jamaican exhibition in the Cayman Islands that was brokered between the two country’s national galleries – the first one, an exhibition of contemporary Jamaican art, was held in 2004.

The present exhibition examines Jamaican art from around Jamaica’s Independence in 1962 to the politically eventful 1970s – one of the most culturally dynamic periods in Jamaican history – and consists of thirty works from the National Gallery of Jamaica Collection and two works from Cayman-based collections of Jamaican art. It includes later works by artists who were already established at that time, such as Edna Manley, Alvin Marriott, Albert Huie, David Pottinger and Carl Abrahams, and younger artists who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Barrington Watson, Eugene Hyde, Karl Parboosingh, Osmond Watson, Judy Ann MacMillan, Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds, Everald Brown, Gaston Tabois, Hope Brooks, George Rodney and Winston Patrick. The works were selected by NGJ Executive Director Veerle Poupeye and Acting Senior Curator O’Neil Lawrence.

“The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands is delighted host Jamaica Art: 1960s & 1970s from the collection of the National Gallery of Jamaica,” says National Gallery of the Cayman Islands Director Natalie Urquhart. “This exhibition marks an important international collaboration between NGCI and NGJ, and it is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the long-standing social, cultural and economic relationships between our two countries.” The exhibition, which is one of several planned exchanges between the two national galleries, also reflects the NGJ’s present thrust towards greater regional engagement and visibility.