Last Sundays, May 31, 2015: featuring Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists, Tanya Shirley and Kelissa

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The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present its new exhibition, Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists, which opens to the public on Sunday, May 31, 2015, as part of the Last Sundays programme for that day. The guest speaker will be Taynia Shirley and there will be a musical performance by Kelissa.

Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists, the third edition of a series of exhibitions that explore the big themes and issues in Jamaican art, asks the question whether any concept of women’s art is relevant in Jamaica today. This exhibition, which was curated by National Gallery Senior Curator O’Neil Lawrence, features the work of seven mid-career female artists who are based in Jamaica or of Jamaican origin and work in a variety of media: Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, Judith Salmon, Miriam Hinds-Smith, Prudence Lovell, Kereina Chang Fatt, Berette Macaulay and Amy Laskin. Viewers are invited to explore whether there are any commonalities that set these artists’ works and careers apart from those of their male counterparts and whether there is any justification to label them as “women artists.” Each of the featured artists has produced a statement on the subject that will be reproduced in the catalogue and the exhibition text panels. More information on this exhibition can be found on the National Gallery blog.

The poet-scholar Tanya Shirley has been described as “a startlingly bold writer with a particular gift for highlighting the telling detail in her vivid and arresting poems, which variously contain portraits of lovers, colourful eccentrics and family snapshots that capture the elusive magic of childhood memories, and reveal those paradoxical truths which all families strive to conceal.” She was educated at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she now teaches between time spent elsewhere in the Caribbean and the United States, and she obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. She has published her poetry in journals such as Small Axe and The Caribbean Writer, and in New Caribbean Poetry: An Anthology, which was edited by Kei Miller, and So Much Things to Say: 100 Calabash Poets. Her debut collection, She Who Sleeps With Bones, was published in 2009 and she recently launched her second poetry collection, The Merchant of Feathers.

Kelissa McDonald was born and raised in the hills of St Andrew, Jamaica and was inspired from early on by reggae and Rastafari. With her parents as the lead vocalists in the reggae band Chakula, there was constantly music pulsating from her home. Her music has evolved into an expression of her background as well her stimulating living experiences in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana. At the moment, Kelissa resides in Jamaica where she continues to make positive and conscious music as an avenue to express her diverse experiences and to inspire and uplift others.

Admission on Sunday, August 31, 2015 is free but donations are gratefully accepted. The doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm but the opening speech and musical performance will start at 1:30 pm. The National Gallery gift and coffee shop will be open. Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists will be on view at the National Gallery until August 8, 2015.

Last Sundays, April 26, 2015, featuring BLACK as COLE

ngj_Sunday_Opening_April 26,2015 (rgb)The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays event for April 26, 2015 will feature a performance by the band BLACK as COLE.

Brainchild of songstress Cecile Black and bassist Craig Cole, BLACK as COLE’s performance style is a fusion of different genres: Alternative, Blues, Gospel, R&B, Reggae/Dub-Rock which they have integrated into a base component of Reggae and Dub; the result is a new genre that the band calls Jam-on- Dub.   Most of the band’s members became close during their time in the UWI Pop society at the Mona campus and according to the band their goal is to ‘to ignite your hearts with conscious uplifting messages of truth and love.’

BLACK as COLE performs mostly original material and cover versions are usually interpretations of songs with significant impact on the band. The band has been together for over three years and have graced a number of stages performing several times at the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival and venues such as Red Bones Blues Cafe'; Jamnesia; and Plug ‘n’ Play @ the Jonkanoo Lounge of the Wyndham Hotel to name a few. To date the band has released two official singles namely, ‘Musical Romance’ a R&B themed love song of how the founders of the band met; and also a Reggae cover of Adele’s ‘Hometown Glory’.

Visitors will also be able to view the Edna Manley and Kapo galleries, A.D. Scott galleries as well as our recently installed temporary exhibit featuring selections from the Gallery’s modern Jamaican art collection. This exhibit features major works by Carl Abrahams, Albert Artwell, Everald Brown, Gloria Escoffery, Colin Garland, Koren Der Harootian, Albert Huie, Eugene Hyde, Edna Manley, David Pottinger and Barrington Watson.

Doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm, the performance starts at 1:30 pm. As is customary admission to the NGJ and guided tours and children’s activities will be free. The gift and coffee shop will be open for business and we welcome contributions to our donations box. The revenues from our shop and your donations help to fund programmes such as our Last Sundays.

LAST SUNDAYS, MARCH 29, 2015: CELEBRATING THEATRE MONTH

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The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays event for March 29, 2015, will feature two short plays set in the galleries, Sure Thing by David Ives and Untitled #2 by Jim Gordon, which are staged in observation of Theatre Month.

Sure Thing is a short comic play featuring a chance meeting of two characters, Betty and Bill, whose conversation is continually reset by the use of a ringing bell, starting over when one of them responds negatively to the other. The play is directed by Peter Abrikian and features Craig McNally and Natalee Cole. Untitled #2 is about two “art critics” who view a painting by one of their favourite artists in an art gallery and come to strikingly different opinions as to the meaning of the work. Caught up in a fever of contrasting artistic and political views they come close to fisticuffs before the artist appears and sets them straight. This second play is directed by Brian Heap and features Jean-Paul Menou and Hilary Nicholson.

Visitors will also be able to view the Kapo and Edna Manley Galleries, the Historical Galleries, and the A.D. Scott Galleries, as well as a new temporary exhibition consisting of sections from the Gallery’s modern Jamaican collection. The latter includes major work by Edna Manley, Albert Huie, Carl Abrahams, Koren der Harootian, David Pottinger, Barrington Watson, Karl Parboosingh, Eugene Hyde, Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds, Everald Brown, Albert Artwell, Colin Garland, and Gloria Escoffery. Guided tours and children’s activities will be offered.

Doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm, the plays start 1:30 pm. As is now customary, admission to the NGJ and guided tours and children’s activities will be free. The gift and coffee shop will be open for business and contributions to the donations box are welcomed. Revenues from our shops and donations help to fund programmes such as our Last Sundays.

Last Sundays: February 22, 2015

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The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays event for February 22, 2015, will feature yoga in the gallery with Nadine McNeil (Universal Empress) & Donovan Manning, music by DJ Iset Sankofa, and the Jamaica Biennial 2014, which is now in its final month. Doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm.

The yoga session, is presented under the title Yoga Ethnochoreology, is themed around what McNeil prefers to call African Heritage Month, with a special focus on the “divine masculine,” and will be accompanied by music selected by DJ Iset Sankofa. The yoga session will start at 11 am and the cost is $ 1,000. Proceeds will be used to fund an internship at the National Gallery for an Alpha Boys school student. Interested persons are asked to pre-register at info@universalempress.com. Space is limited, so please register early and bring our own yoga mat.

Iset Sankofa will also provide music for the rest of the day. As she describes it, her sets are an “‘all genres considered’ milieu… where dusty Malian Blues takes a night stroll with Dub, Naija hip hop flirts dangerously with Kingston Dancehall grit, and bubbly Brazilian Electronica steams a peace pipe with Afro-Jazz futurism.” Her musical selections have a way of running past the dance-able and the obvious. Usually, the next stop is a bold convergence of history and magic – one that playfully wields the listener into the lush, downright sensuous terrain that music can be.

Tours of the Jamaica Biennial 2014 will also be offered on February 22. As is now customary, admission to the NGJ and guided tours will be free. The gift and coffee shop will be open for business and contributions to the donations box are welcomed. Revenues from our shops and donations help to fund programmes such as the Jamaica Biennial 2014 and our Last Sundays programming.

The Devon House part of the Jamaica Biennial 2014 will exceptionally be open on Saturday, February 21 and Sunday, February 22, from 12 noon to 6 pm. Regular admission fees will however apply at Devon House.

Last Sundays – January 25, 2015, feat. Smallman, The Solitary Alchemist and the Jamaica Biennial 2014

Last Sunday 25 2015-01-01The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programme continues on Sunday, January 25 with a screening of two films: Smallman: The World My Father Made (2013) and The Solitary Alchemist (2010). Visitors will also have the opportunity to view the main exhibition of the Jamaica Biennial 2014. Doors will be open from 11 am to 4 pm and the film screening starts at 1:30 pm.

The Jamaica Biennial 2014 exhibition, which opened on December 7 and continues until March 15, can be seen at the National Gallery of Jamaica, which houses the main exhibition, with satellite exhibitions at Devon House and National Gallery West in Montego Bay and one project, by Bahamian artist Blue Curry, on the streets of Downtown Kingston. The exhibition features Jamaican artists, both local and from the diaspora, and, for the first time, also specially invited artists from elsewhere in the Caribbean. One of the National Gallery’s largest and most popular exhibitions to date, it has already received significant acclaim as a landmark exhibition, which provides exposure to the diversity of contemporary art from the Caribbean region and its diaspora and serves as a platform for new development. Among the artists in the exhibition are the winners of the 2014 Biennial’s two awards: the Aaron Matalon Award winner Ebony G. Patterson (at Devon House); and the co-winners of the inaugural Dawn Scott Memorial Award, Camille Chedda and Kimani Beckford, whose work can be seen at the National Gallery of Jamaica.

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Still from Smallman

The films that will be screened on January 25, Smallman and The Solitary Alchemist, were both directed by Mariel Brown whose documentary film Inward Hunger: The Story of Eric Williams recently won the Best Local Feature Film jury prize at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, and has been screened in London, England; Kingston, Jamaica; Florida, USA and Port of Spain, Trinidad.

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Still from The Solitary Alchemist

Smallman: The World My Father Made, a short film, tells the story of John Ambrose Kenwyn Rawlins an ordinary Trinidadian of modest means. He was a great father, grandfather and husband; an obedient public servant. Yet the most vivid part of his life was lived in a small workshop beneath his house. In there, at the end of his workday, he made things. From simple push toys to elaborate 1/16th scale waterline battle ship models and dockyards, miniature furniture and dolls houses, he painstakingly constructed everything from scratch, sometimes spending upwards of a year on a single model. The film is an exploration of the worlds both real and imagined that Kenwyn Rawlins made, as remembered by his son Richard Mark Rawlins, who is also one of the specially invited artists in the Jamaica Biennial 2014.

Still from Smallman

Still from Smallman

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Last Sundays: December 28, 2014, featuring the Jamaica Biennial and Nexus

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The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sunday programme for December 2014 is scheduled for Sunday, December 28, 2014, from 11 am to 4 pm.

Visitors will have the opportunity to view the main exhibition of the recently opened Jamaica Biennial 2014, which comprises work by nearly 100 artists including, for the first time and in addition to the Jamaica-based and Jamaica diaspora artists who entered as invited or juried artists, six specially invited international artists: Renee Cox (Jamaica/USA), Sheena Rose (Barbados), Gilles Elie-dit-Cosaque (Martinique/France), Richard Mark Rawlins (Trinidad), James Cooper (Bermuda) and Blue Curry (Bahamas/UK). The juried artists were, also for the first time, selected by two international curators, Diana Nawi of the Perez Art Museum in Miami and Sara Hermann from the Dominican Republic. The resulting Jamaica Biennial 2014 features a dynamic mix of styles, themes and media, with strong a representation of new media, particularly video, but also of representational and abstract painting. Young and emerging artists are particularly well represented and this includes the co-winners of the inaugural Dawn Scott Memorial Award, Camille Chedda and Kimani Beckford.

The other sections of the Jamaica Biennial 2014 can be seen at Devon House, where work by Greg Bailey, Laura Facey, James Cooper (Bermuda), Cosmo Whyte, Oneika Russell and Aaron Matalon Award winner Ebony G. Patterson are exhibited, and at National Gallery West, which features the work of Renée Cox. One Biennial project, by Blue Curry, can be seen at various locations on the streets of Downtown Kingston.

The featured performance at the National Gallery of Jamaica on Sunday, December 28 will be a by award-winning Nexus Performing Arts Company and will start at 1:30 pm. The Nexus Performing Arts Company was formed in 2001 by Hugh Douse, Artistic Director, voice tutor, singer, actor, conductor, songwriter, and a former Director of Culture in Education. The group has a broad musical repertoire that draws on Gospel, Negro Spirituals, Semi-classical, Popular music including Reggae and Showtunes, African and Classical music of the European and African traditions.

As is now customary, admission to the NGJ will be free and free guided tours will be offered. The gift and coffee shop will be open for business and contributions to the donations box are welcomed. Revenues from our shops and donations help to fund programmes such as the Jamaica Biennial 2014 and our Last Sunday programming.