Global Conversations Series: The Post-Colonial Museum, Global Art and National Self-Definition

The National Gallery of Jamaica presents the second episode in the Global Conversations Series: The Post-Colonial Museum, Global Art and National Self-Definition on April 23, 2021 at 12 noon. The discussion will be moderated by our Chief Curator O’Neil Lawrence and our panellists will be art critic Kobena Mercer and art historian Partha Mitter. The discussion will be presented live on our YouTube channel, inclusive of a 30 minute segment for audience participation.

The Post-Colonial Museum, Global Art and National Self-Definition

What role should museums and national galleries play in the context of globalizing art worlds? What are the implications for national self-definition as diasporas grow? A look at problems of representation, neo-colonialism, competing nationalisms and their impact on art institutions today.

O’Neil Lawrence

An artist, curator, researcher and writer, Lawrence has worked at the National Gallery of Jamaica in various capacities since 2008 most recently as Chief Curator. He was the lead curator on the exhibitions Seven Women Artists (2015), Masculinities (2015), I Shall Return Again (2018) and Beyond Fashion (2018). His photography and video work have been included in several international exhibitions; most notably Rockstone and Bootheel (Real Art Ways, Connecticut, 2009), In Another Place and Here (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 2015), and his solo show Son of a Champion (Mutual Gallery, Kingston, 2012). His research interests include race, gender and sexuality in Caribbean and African Diasporal art and visual culture; memory, identity and hidden archives; photography as a medium and a social vehicle. Lawrence’s recent publications include Iconicity and Eroticism in the Photography of Archie Lindo in the anthology Beyond Homophobia: Centring LGBTQ Experiences in the Anglophone Caribbean, UWI Press (June 2020) and Through Archie Lindo’s Lens: Uncovering the Queer Subtext in Nationalist Jamaican Art in SX: 63, Duke University Press (Nov 2020). In 2018 he served on the Board of the Davidoff Art Initiative and he is currently on the Advisory Council of the Caribbean Art Initiative

Kobena Mercer

Kobena Mercer is Professor of History of Art and African American Studies at Yale University. His teaching and research centres around African American, Caribbean, and Black British art, bringing cultural studies methods to investigate modern and contemporary Black Atlantic worlds. He previously taught at New York University; Middlesex University, London; and University of California Santa Cruz. Mercer is the author of ground breaking essays in Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies (1994) and monographic studies on Isaac Julien, Keith Piper, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, James Van Der Zee, and Romare Bearden. He conceived and edited the Annotating Art’s Histories series, published by MIT, whose titles are Cosmopolitan Modernisms (2005), Discrepant Abstraction (2006), Pop Art and Vernacular Culture (2007) and Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers (2008). Mercer is an inaugural recipient of the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing, awarded by the Clark Art Institute in 2006. 

In addition to a survey of contemporary Black Atlantic artists in The Image of the Black in Western Art (2014), and his recent essay collection, Travel & See: Black Diaspora Art Practices since the 1980s (2016), Mercer edited and introduced Stuart Hall’s hitherto unpublished Du Bois Lectures, The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation (2017). Recent exhibition catalogue contributions include Wifredo Lam, Centre Pompidou; Frank Bowling, Haus der Kunst; Adrian Piper, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Theaster Gates, Tate Liverpool. Mercer’s forthcoming book is Alain Locke and the Visual Arts, published by Yale University Press in 2022.

Partha Mitter

Partha Mitter Hon. D. Lit. (Courtauld Institute, London University), FRSA, is a writer and art historian specialising in the reception of Indian art in the West; modernity, art and identity in India, and more recently global modernism. Mitter is an Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex, an Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University, Canada, a member of Wolfson College, Oxford and an Honorary Fellow of Victoria & Albert Museum, London. An avid scholar, he was a Junior Research Fellow at Churchill College (Cambridge 1968-9); a Research Fellow at Clare Hall (Cambridge 1970-74) and lectured at the University of Sussex from 1974-2002. He has also participated in a  number of visiting fellowships. 

Mitter’s publications include Much Maligned Monsters: History of European Reactions to Indian Art (1977; new ed. 2013); Art and Nationalism in Colonial India 1850-1922 (1994); Indian Art (2002) and The Triumph of Modernism: India’s Artists and the Avant-Garde – 1922-1947 (2007). He has also contributed many articles including ‘Interventions: Decentering Modernism: Art History and Avant-Garde Art from the Periphery’, Art Bulletin (Volume XC, Number 4 (December, 2008), 531-574; “Bauhaus in Kalkutta”, Annemarie Jaeggi, ed. Bauhaus Global: Gesammelte Beiträge der Konferenz Bauhaus Global (Bauhaus- Archiv, Berlin Gebr.Mann Verlag 2010), 149-158; and catalogue essay, “History, Memory and Anish Kapoor”, Anish Kapoor Past Present and Future, ed. Nicholas Baume, catalogue of the exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art , Boston, 30 May-7 Sept. 2008, 105-118.

For more educational and entertainment content subscribe and follow us on:

-YouTube NationalGalleryofJamaica
-Instagram @nationalgalleryofjamaica
-Twitter @natgalleryja
-Facebook at NationalGalleryofJamaica