Jamaica Biennial February 28 -May 28, 2017 @natgalleryja

Jamaica Biennial February 28 -May 28, 2017 @natgalleryja

Open to the public from Tuesday, February 28 to Sunday, May 28, 2017, the 2017 Jamaica Biennial is organized by the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ), the largest and oldest public art museum in the Anglophone Caribbean. With a focus on Jamaica and Jamaica Diaspora artists with specially invited artists from other Caribbean nations, the Biennial will be housed in three locations including: the National Gallery and Devon House in Kingston and the National Gallery West in Montego Bay. The Biennial is team-curated by the NGJ’s curatorial department under the direction of its Executive Director, Dr. Veerle Poupeye. A series of Biennial opening events will take place from Friday, February 24 to Sunday, February 26.

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Initiated in 1977 as an exhibition for only Jamaican art, the Jamaica Biennial is repositioning itself as a platform for Caribbean art as the region’s significance in the global contemporary arts landscape pivots and as contemporary artists from various islands gain relevance internationally.

The 2017 Jamaica Biennial will include 35 invited Jamaican artists, 49 local, juried Jamaican artists with 7 special projects by Caribbean artists. In addition, the Biennale will have tributes to local artists Alexander Cooper and Peter Dean Rickards. The Aaron Matalon Award, named after a former chairman and major benefactor of the NGJ, will be presented to the artist with the best entry; and the Dawn Scott Memorial Award, art critic Edward Gomez’s private initiative, will be awarded to a young or emerging artist whose work echoes the innovative spirit and social engagement of the work of the late Dawn Scott, a pioneering contemporary Jamaican artist.

Dr. Veerle Poupeye, the lead on the curatorial team, is a Kingston, Jamaica-based art and historian and curator specialized in Caribbean art.  “Part invitational and part juried, the Biennial is a very inclusive exhibition which brings into dialogue work in traditional and new media and established and emerging artists from Maria Magdelena Campos-Pons’ reflections to recent art school graduates such as Kelly-Ann Lindo,” says Poupeye. “There is no imposed theme but for each edition, certain shared themes come to the fore that reflect the concerns of the present moment, such as the politics of race, hair, migration, violence, human rights, and climate change.”

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The other curatorial team members include O’Neil Lawrence, Senior Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica andMonique Barnett Davidson, Assistant Curator in the Education Department of the National Gallery of Jamaica.

The judges for the Juried Section of the Biennial include Amanda Coulson, Director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, Christoper Cozier, an artist, writer and curator from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Susanne Fredricks, Exhibitions Director at Gallery 128, Kingston, Jamaica and Omari Ra, Head of the Fine Arts Department at the School of Visual Arts at Edna Manley, College, Kingston, Jamaica.

Exhibition Venues

Located in the business district on the Kingston Waterfront, the National Gallery of Jamaica’s 30,000 sq ft of exhibition space is spread over two floors. The largest part of the Biennial will be on view here with work in traditional and new media. Among the 117 artists who will be featured at the NGJ are: Raquel Paiewonsky, Nadia Huggins, Marcel Pinas, Prudence Lovell, Oneika Russell, David Boxer, Di-Andre Caprice Davis, Judy Ann MacMillan, Bryan McFarlane, Phillip Thomas, Simon Benjamin, Jacqueline Bishop, Olivia McGilchrist, Richard Nattoo, Samere Tansley, Shoshanna Weinberger, Cosmo Whyte and Laura Facey. The special tributes to Alexander Cooper and Peter Dean Rickards will also be shown here.

Devon House, a Victorian-era, plantation-style mansion, located just north of the New Kingston business district, was built in 1881 by George Stiebel, Jamaica’s first black millionaire. The work chosen for Devon House intervenes into the space and context of the house. Artists exhibiting at Devon House are Laura Facey, Andrea Chung, Deborah Anzinger, Leasho Johnson, Jasmine Thomas-Girvan and Sharon Norwood.

The National Gallery West, the National Gallery’s Montego Bay branch, housed in a restored Georgian courthouse on Sam Sharpe Square, will feature the David Gumbs’ installation Xing-Wang, an interactive, sound activated 5 channel video installation in the gallery space. The project’s outdoor component will be activated during Easter Weekend.

Special Project Invitees (Caribbean Artists)

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons – Cuban born, resident in the USA

Andrea Chung – Jamaican heritage, born in USA

David Gumbs – born and resident in St Martin
Nadia Huggins – born in St Vincent, resident in Trinidad and Tobago
Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow – born Jamaica, resident in USA
Raquel Paiewonsky – born Dominican Republic
Marcel Pinas – born Surinam
Special Tributes (Local Artists):


Invited Artists (Local)
1.     David Boxer
2.     Hope Brooks
3.     Margaret Chen
4.     Carol Crichton
5.     Rex Dixon
6.     Michael Elliott
7.     Laura Facey
8.     Marlon James
9.     Rafiki Kariuki
10.   Amy Laskin
11.   K. Khalfani Ra
12.   Amy Laskin
13.   Prudence Lovell
14.   Judy Ann MacMillan
15.   Franz Marzouca
16.   Bryan McFarlane
17.   Jag Mehta
18.   Els Meijns
19.   Petrona Morrison
20.   Winston Patrick

21.   Omari Ra

22.   Keith ‘Uhuru’ Reece
23.   Norma Rodney-Harrack
24.   Oneika Russell
25.   Judith Salmon
26.   Storm Saulter
27.   Stafford Schlieffer
28.   Tina Spiro
29.   Phillip Supersad
30.   Heather Sutherland Wade
31.   Samere Tansley
32.   Phillip Thomas
33.   Jasmine Thomas-Girvan
34.   Raymond Watson
35.   Donnette Zacca
Juried Artists (Local)
1.      Deborah Anzinger
2.      Greg Bailey
3.      Kid Bazzle
4.      Kimani Beckford
5.      Aisha Bell
6.      Simon Benjamin
7.      Claudia Beyer
8.      Jacqueline Bishop
9.      Venise Black
10.    Alicia Brown
11.    Camille Chedda
12.    Stefan Clarke
13.    Katrina Coombs
14.    Nathan Cunningham
15.    Paula Daley
16.    Di-Andre Caprice Davis
17.    Nichola Feldman-kiss
18.    Shediene Fletcher
19.    The Girl and the Magpie
20.    Jenny Gordon
21.    Jeffery Grant
22.    Ziggie Graver
23.    Xayvier Haughton
24.    Rachel Henriques
25.    Christopher Irons
26.     Andy Jefferson
27.     Derval Johnson
28.     Leasho Johnson
29.     Steve Jones
30.     Ramon Knight (aka Baby Mango Friend)
31.     Christopher Lawrence
32.     Kelley-Ann Lindo
33.     Berette Macaulay
34.     Carol-Anne McFarlane
35.     Olivia McGilchrist
36.     Rachael Minott
37.     Oliver Myrie
38.     Richard Nattoo
39.     Sharon Norwood
40.     Nicholas Rose
41.     Twaunii Sinclair
42.     Tiffany Smith
43.     Kamar Thomas
44.     Sharon Virtue
45.     Troydel Wallace
46.     Maria Karla Watson Falcon
47.     Shoshanna Weinberger
48.     Cosmo Whyte
49.     Anji Worton

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