Jamaica Biennial 2017 – Juried Artists: Kimani Beckford

Kimani Beckford – Young, Gifted and Black (2016)

Here is another feature on one of the artists in the recently closed Jamaica Biennial 2017:

Kimani Beckford was born in 1988, in St Catherine, Jamaica. He attended the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, where he completed his BFA degree in Painting in 2011. In the same year, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture. Most recently his work was featured in the Jamaican Pulse: Art and Politics from Jamaica and the Diaspora (2016) exhibition held in Bristol, United Kingdom. In 2014, he was a recipient of the inaugural Dawn Scott Memorial Award for his submission to the Jamaica Biennial 2014 exhibition held at the National Gallery of Jamaica. Working mostly in paint media, Beckford explores the politics of race and representation in the contemporary context. Beckford lives in St Andrew, Jamaica.

Digital: Kimani Beckford

Kimani Beckford - Jus Becos Mi Black (2016) (still from video)

Kimani Beckford – Jus Becos Mi Black (2016) (still from video)

Here is another feature on the artists and works in the upcoming Digital exhibition, opening date Sunday, April 24:


Kimani Beckford was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, 1988. He holds a 2011 BFA in painting from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Beckford has been exhibiting regularly from as early as 2005 when he was a regular participant of the National Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition, put on annually by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. In 2010, he became the first Jamaican to participate in the UNESCO Art Camp, held in Andorra, Spain. More recently, he has participated in the National Gallery of Jamaica’s 2012 and 2014 Biennial exhibitions, as well as the 2015 Mercosul Biennial held in Brazil. His awards include the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for excellence in Arts and Culture in Jamaica (2011) and the Dawn Scott Memorial Award (2014). He lives and works in Jamaica.

Kimani Beckford - Jus Becos Mi Black (2016) (still from video)

Kimani Beckford – Jus Becos Mi Black (2016) (still from video)

About the Work

“This video installation explores blackness as self-portrait. It represents each and every one who has had similar experiences of disrespect as a result of their race. There are many common racist expressions that verbally discriminate against ‘blackness.’ Some of these are: ‘nothing black is good,’ ‘Black represents ugly and evil’, among several others.”

“I am using this video installation as a medium to challenge those degrading expressions that stigmatize the Black presence with inferiority. In the video, the song ‘Strange Fruit’ is placed in dialogue with ‘Jus Becos Mi Black’ to create an open ground to share personal experiences. Experiences that are similar to those of the past, where persons may be disgraced because of their race. This video installation also gives invitation to the audience; an invitation to a moment that is presented.”

Kimani Beckford - Jus Becos Mi Black (2016) (still from video)

Kimani Beckford – Jus Becos Mi Black (2016) (still from video)



Jus Becos Mi Black (2016), Video installation with furniture, duration of video: 03.23 mins

Credit: Lionel Thompson and Paul Wilson

The 2014 Aaron Matalon and Dawn Scott Memorial Awards Are Announced

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The National Gallery of Jamaica extends heartiest congratulations to Ebony G. Patterson, the winner of the 2014 Aaron Matalon Award, and Camille Chedda and Kimani Beckford, the co-winners of the inaugural Dawn Scott Memorial Award. Both awards are attached to the Jamaica Biennial 2014 exhibition, which opened with a week of events from December 7 to 14 and continues until March 15, 2015 at the National Gallery of Jamaica and Devon House in Kingston and at National Gallery West in Montego Bay. The awards were announced at the Biennial’s main opening reception at the National Gallery on Sunday, December 14.

The Aaron Matalon Award is granted to the artist who, in the opinion of the combined Exhibitions and Acquisitions committees of the National Gallery made the most outstanding contribution to the Biennial. The award is named after the National Gallery’s late Chairman and benefactor, the Hon. Aaron Matalon, OJ. Awardees receive a unique medal, hand-crafted by the noted jeweller Carol Campbell, and a monetary award. Previous awardees include Phillip Thomas, Norma Rodney Harrack, Renee Cox, Omari Ra and Jasmine Thomas-Girvan.

The 2014 Aaron Matalon Awardee Ebony G. Patterson is a graduate of the Edna Manley College (BFA) and the Sam Fox College of Design and Visual Art at Washington University in St Louis (MFA). She is presently an Associate Professor in the Fine Arts department of the University of Kentucky. Patterson is one of the most outstanding and internationally acclaimed artists to emerge in Jamaica in the last decade and she has received several awards, including the 2011 Rex Nettleford Fellowship in Cultural Studies and the 2012 Bronze Musgrave Medal. Ebony G. Patterson’s is a uniquely Caribbean aesthetic that melds elements of “high” and “low” art and draws from carnival costuming, Haitian sequined flags, and above all the “bling” of Jamaican Dancehall fashion. Her recent work explores the politics of visibility and invisibility, with regards to the cultural and social implications of violence and death in Jamaican society. Her Biennial projects are exhibited at Devon House and consist of two floor-based tapestry installations from the Dead Treez series, titled Lillies, Carnations and Rozebuds and Trunk Stump and Dominoes, that are embellished with needlework, crochet, glitter, and various objects, including clothing, shoes and children’s toys.

The new Dawn Scott Memorial Award was initiated by the internationally renowned art critic Edward M. Gomez in honour of his late friend, the Jamaican artist Allison Dawn Scott. Dawn Scott is best known for her ground-breaking and highly influential mixed media installation A Cultural Object (1985, Collection: National Gallery) but she also produced figurative batik paintings that depict Jamaican life and people with a unique blend of poetry and realism. She also worked as an interior designer who produced innovative, culturally grounded shop designs and architectural detailing. The awardee is personally selected by Mr Gomez and is a granted to an emerging artist in the Biennial who represents the artistically innovative, socially committed spirit of Dawn Scott. The Dawn Scott Memorial Award also involves a monetary grant. Given the very competitive nature of 2014 Biennial, it comes as no surprise that the Dawn Scott Memorial Award was tied between two artists, Kimani Beckford and Camille Chedda, and Edward Gomez consequently decided to split the award between the two. Continue reading