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Jamaica Art Market Review (Feb. 2018)

The Jamaica Art Market Review supports the call for market transparency by providing a unique digital portal to the local creative economy. In so doing we enter a lane left clear by the erudites to inform, educate and facilitate artists', and private and institutional collectors' consideration of the value of Jamaican art. On occasion artephemera® will deviate from the Jamaican art market to share global market insight, as in the case of the Forever Rose crypto art project and the discovery and sale of Ben Enwonwu's 1974 painting of the Ife princess Adetutu Ademiluyi, Tutu. Both events are thought to be game changers for the way we think about the value of art.



Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for New York Magazine, praised Kemel Rankine's hand-painted metal signs as being more interesting than anything he had seen for a long time. Awaiting word from Saltz on how much the sign cost, but we do know he paid "about 250 USD each" for Eddie Harris' mini-shanti sculptures, bought from the New York-based Antillean Gallery's booth at the Outsider Art Fair, in New York City. Rankine and Harris' work were displayed with Sane Mae Dunkley's (1954 - 2017) remnant textile mats and were singled out as triumphant "masterpieces" in the 26th edition of the fair which promotes the work of outsider (largely self-taught) artists. Efforts by the founder of Antillean, visual artist and academic Jacqueline Bishop, “... to continue working with and within communities to build upon and sustain local art traditions that in turn will build and support strong communities," were covered in a Jamaica Observer feature story in August 2017.

Kevin Abosch and GIFTO, The Forever Rose, 0xABea06495aBD2498Ef7371Bda82B0c5269cB8efF

On Valentine's Day, a digital photograph of a red rose was sold to a group of 10 collectors who split the cost evenly in 1,000,000 USD worth of cryptocurrency. Crypto-art is a new market, and The Forever Rose project sought to apply the abstract concept of blockchain technology to the art world. While you can't touch the artwork or hang it in your home, collectors can choose to hold their "rose token," sell it or give it to someone for a special occasion. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the CoderDojo Foundation, which offers free computer programming clubs for young people.

Price realized USD 1,000,000

14 February 2018, Hong Kong

Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu M.B.E (Nigerian, 1917-1994), Tutu, oil on canvas, 38 3/16 x 26 3/16in (97 x 66.5cm).

The discovery of Tutu is “the most significant discovery in contemporary African art in over 50 years.” Painted by Ben Enwonwu, the work symbolizes the contributions of African artists to the birth of modernism and to the world’s artistic achievements. The hammer price set a new record for a modern Nigerian artist and will help bring about a wider re-evaluation of African art.

Price realised GBP 1,200,000

Estimate GBP 200,000 - GBP 300,000

Bonham's: Africa Now

28 February 2018, London


John Minton (1917-1957), Jamaican Village, oil on canvas, 60 x 142½ in. (152.4 x 362 cm.)

Price realised GBP 293,000

Estimate GBP 100,000 - GBP 150,000

Christies Modern British & Irish Art Evening Sale

23 November 2016, London



Kehinde Wiley, Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in.

Before internationally acclaimed artist Kehinde Wiley painted the official portrait of President Barack Obama, unveiled in February at the National Portrait Gallery, Wiley visited and absorbed the Rock and subsequently presented JAMAICA: The World Stage, in his first UK solo exhibition at the Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. The 2013 exhibition of Jamaicans assuming poses from 17th and 18th Century British portraiture was the first one in his ‘World Stage’ series to feature women. Click here for more images.

Grosvenor Galleries, in association with Blaqmango Consultants, presented “Conflicting Perceptions”(February 10 -24). A group exhibition of portraiture by Alicia Brown and Dushaine Lorraine which questioned the notion of beauty and identity within the Caribbean Diaspora. Women are often targeted in the conversations around beauty and the perceptions of beauty.



The Olympia Gallery has a fresh new on-line look and corporate identity. Gallery-owner Rosie Thwaites, while preparing for the March exhibition of paintings by Bryan McFarlane, credits in-house graphic designer Abby with the evolution and new social media thrust.

#DoBiggerThings, a campaign by Galaxy Note8 invited people to share their aspirations via the new smartphone technology. Seven Caribbean artists, including Jamaican illustrator and designer Taj Francis, used the competition to express their own creativity for a chance to see their aspirations visualised on one of the largest billboards in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

With Kingston declared a Creative City of Music by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2015, one still-to-be-identified artwork by Michael 'Freestylee' Thompson's (1955-2016) will be used to represent that creativity. Click to read the full article here.

NLS Kingston's resident artist, Blue Curry, invited the public to perform in a bartender's uniform for the one-night-only opening of J Bar. Inspired by the ‘J’ from typography of Jamaica Tourist Board’s campaigns, the interactive sculpture included audio recorded at Creative Sounds resulting from Blue's research into how reggae has been "hijacked" as the representative music of leisure globally.



Peggy Cooper Cafritz Grande dame of Washington arts scene and sister to US ambassador to Jamaica Jerome (Gary) Cooper. Read the Washington Post obituary here.


artephemera®com has no vested interest in any art assets that appear herein.

All site content has been prepared using publicly available information with or without examining the actual works.

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