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Jamaica Art Market Review | Sept. 2018

Nakazzi Tafari, Glass mask with driftwood locks, September 2018. Photo: Nakazzi Tafari

A piece from Nakazzi's latest series: "I am evolving my process and pushing to capture a completely seamless organic aesthetic," she says. "At the same time, as I experiment with all kinds of materials, I am also striving for more permanence and durability of the work without losing the ephemeral quality that expresses both the transience and fragility of life."


Art historian, Veerle Poupeye, PhD has launched "a platform for critical discussion and information about art and culture in the Global Caribbean" in Critical.Caribbean.Art , the public Facebook group which aggregates regional art industry and international best-practice content including essays from her personal blog Perspectives.

In the blog we found Notes on Jamaica’s Art Histories # 2: African-Derived Sculpture from the Colonial Period; a second essay --- the first being Notes on Jamaica’s Art Histories # 1: Critiquing the Main Narrative --- which interrogates the seminal work on Jamaica's art history that was David Boxer's catalogue essay for the Smithsonian Museum's travelling exhibition: Jamaican Art 1922-1982.

A post, adapted from Poupeye's 2011 doctoral dissertation Between Nation and Market: Art and Society in 20th Century Jamaica (download available on-line), challenges the claim made by the late (1946-2017) curator and director emeritus of the National Gallery of Jamaica, in his 1983 essay that: "It is one of the tragedies of slavery that so drastic was the deculturation of Africans, so harsh the prohibitions against the manufacture of ritual objects, that with the exception of undecorated ceramic vessels not one object exists as evidence of the African artistic traditions in Jamaica."

Obeah effigy, collected in Hanover, Jamaica in 1885, Collection: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Photo:Perspectives blog

Poupeye's counter claim is fascinating and is upheld by images and citations of surviving

physical evidence --- primarily ritual objects considered to be sculptural forms --- of African artistic traditions from enslaved Jamaica. The real tragedy now is that it appears these once "undesirable exhibit(s)" reside in foreign collections. But all may not be lost, for Poupeye bears witness to at least one similar and rare Obeah object being held in a local private collection.

What Poupeye suggests then is that research and rethinking of Boxer's de facto Jamaican art history is due and that African material culture must weigh more heavily in the narrative which typically begins with Edna Manley's arrival in Jamaica from England in 1922 and her cultivation of the Nationalist artists.

Her recommendation coincides with ramped up academic activity outside of our shores. Prepared over three years of research, the exhibition Histórias Afro-Atlânticas [Afro-Atlantic Stories] in Brazil (closing October 2018 and for which Barrington Watson's Conversation (1981) provided the central promotional imagery ) uses 450 works by 210 artists from 14 countries to draw parallels on the impact of African cultures in the "Black Atlantic"; a term coined in 1993 by Paul Gilroy to represent "a fluid field where African experiences invade and occupy other nations, territories and cultures ... to produce something new and, until now, unremarked."

There is too the news of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) plan to create a centre to study Caribbean art as part of its five year plan to position themselves as the destination for Latin American and Caribbean art "through the lens of Miami" according to PAMM CEO Franklin Sirmans. This on the heels of their study (greatly assisted by David Boxer) and presentation of the work of Jamaica's John Dunkley ( 1891-1947), in John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night and ahead of their presentation of a significant body of Ebony G. Patterson's work in ...while the dew is still on the roses... (see EXHIBITIONUM).

Jamaica will feature in any significant assessment regional/Caribbean/Black Atlantic art and we encourage the call for our own academics, historians, and curators to continually assess Jamaica's cultural legacy if only to ensure that we participate in and use our own lenses in the positioning of our own artists.



George Robertson, A View in the Island of Jamaica, of Roaring River Estate belonging to William Beckford, 1778. 14 3/8 x 20 7/8 inches . One of two engravings - the other being A View in the Island of Jamaica, of Fort William Estate with part of Roaring River belonging to William Beckford, 1778. 14 3/8 x 20 7/8 inches

Estimate: USD 400-700

Price Realized: USD 813 (Including buyer's premium)

Books and manuscripts sale

Freeman's (of Philadelphia, USA) Auction House

September 2018



Artsy's article is a necessary primer for any artist working anywhere, but particularly those who work away from the traditional global art centres of London, New York and Paris. Jamaica's late (1931-2016) master painter Barrington Watson's credo rings true here: "Do what you have to do, so you can do what you want to do." A generation later, Ebony G. Patterson, who is featured in the article, manages quite nicely to be a player in the art world world even from her non-art capital perches in Kentucky, USA and Kingston, Jamaica. Says Ebony: “I wanted to be able to live…so that I would be able to do my work.”

The Wall Street Journal explores the "pump and dump" phenomenon where contemporary art collectors' voracious appetites for art's fresh stars, drive the prices of their works so high that a crash becomes inevitable. Nigerian-born American-educated artist Akunyili Crosby, shares her experience of being cultivated by scouts and dealers who championed African art only to realize that a wall had been erected between her and her market where buyers bought her work low (in the thousands) and sold them high (in the millions) at auction.

While no issues of droit de suite have been raised in the story, the cautionary tale reminds artists that they must track their work, not just for a record of where works reside so that they can recover them for future exhibitions, but also as a means of ensuring that collectors are buying for the right reasons. “Do they really respond to the work or are they responding to political, cultural, and social pressures?” says Salon 94 gallery director, Nathaniel Mary Quinn. “There are plenty of articles in the press about the trendiness of ‘black’ art and overtures to inclusivity and diversity, but the art world is still a far cry from an accurate reflection of our modern world."



ON PERMANENT DISPLAY | in the Gordon Town Square, St Andrew is the recently unveiled statue of Miss Lou created by sculptor Basil Watson. Louise Simone Bennett-Coverley, OM, OJ, MBE (1919-2006), was a Jamaican poet, folklorist, writer, and educator who performed her poems in patois ultimately elevating the dialect to an art form. According to the Custos of St Andrew, the Hon. Marigold Harding, the initiative to erect the statue was first expressed by the Gordon Town Community Council in August 2012, and was supported by 320 people representing the wider community in which Miss Lou resided before migrating to Canada.


ON SHOW | Davies Foundation Gallery presents "when last you found me here" the first Canadian institutional solo exhibition by Canadian Jamaican artist Tau Lewis.

At The Agnes Etherington Centre, Queen's University, through December 2.

Detail from Lewis' 2018 mixed media work Unity. Collection: Murray Quinn.

ON SHOW | A Welcome Weight on My Body

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography


September 7 - October 13.

Photos of Jamaican-Canadian artist Charles Campbell anchor ARTFORUM's critic picks review of "A Welcome Weight on My Body” ---Trinidadian-Canadian Michèle Pearson Clarke’s new photographs. "Clarke’s study of Caribbean Canadian representation in the history of analogue photography—one fraught with the (mis)readings of people of color— is a call to ownership via the familiar and the consciously understated, a quiet but sure act of confidence. "

Michèle Pearson Clarke, Double Charles, 2018.

ANNOUNCED | John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night

at the American Folk Art Museum

Lincoln Square, NYC

October 30, 2018 - February 24, 2019

John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night continues its North American journey after its first - at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (May 2017 - January 2018) - and subsequent showing at the National Gallery of Jamaica (May - July, 2018).

John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night is organized by Pérez Art Museum Miami and sponsored by Davidoff Art Initiative. It is curated by Diana Nawi with Nicole Smythe-Johnson; Dr. David Boxer served as curatorial advisor; Valérie Rousseau, curator, Self-Taught Art and Art Brut, American Folk Art Museum, is the coordinating curator.

John Dunkley, Acrobat, n.d., mahogany, 8x6x2in. Collection of Kenneth J. Dunkley. Photo by Mariela Pascual.

ANNOUNCED | ...and babies too...

Baltimore Museum of Art

Baltimore, MD

October 2018 — April 2019

Ebony G. Patterson's waist-high, immersive memorial to children killed in violent crimes is installed in an exhibition curated by Cecilia Wichmann, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

A detail from Ebony G. Patterson's, ...and babies too..., 2016, mixed media jacquard woven tapestry with digitally-embroidered appliques, hand-embellished cast glass shoes, and toys mounted on custom painted wood plinth, 120 x 58 in. Made in collaboration with Temple Contemporary at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia. Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

ANNOUNCED | Tobias Ostrander, chief curator of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) has organized the most significant presentation of Ebony G. Patterson's work to date for her upcoming show . . . while the dew is still on the roses . . . . The project includes work produced over the last five years, embedded within a new installation environment that references a night garden. Patterson’s neo-baroque works address violence, masculinity, “bling,” visibility and invisibility within the post-colonial context of her native Jamaica and within black youth culture globally. This exhibition focuses on the role that gardens have played in her practice, referenced as spaces of both beauty and burial; environments filled with fleeting aesthetics and mourning.

Nari Ward, We the People, 2011, Shoelaces, 96 x 324 in (243.8 x 594.4 cm) Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

ANNOUNCED | The New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC, has announced the upcoming “Nari Ward: We the People,” a survey exhibition of the New York-based Jamaican artist featuring over thirty sculptures, paintings, videos, and large-scale installations drawn from the oeuvre of Ward’s twenty-five-year career which will be on view from February 13, 2019 - May 26, 2019. Nari Ward, since the early days of his career, produced works by accumulating and repurposing humble found materials.

Monique Gilpin, Porcelain Correlation, 2/3, 2015, Digital print on PVC.

TO DE WERL | Suzie Wong Presents, Jamaica, in collaboration with 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning present Required Reading by Leasho Johnson and Monique Gilpin as a Special Project at the sixth London edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

Lucy Davies, manager of 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, a registered charity, invited Suzie Wong Presents to collaborate with them to increase the visibility of Caribbean artists in the fair and in the UK more generally. This is the first time the Caribbean has been included in the 1:54 programme. 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Room E16 East, Somerset House, Strand London 4th – 7th October, 2018



We're not sure what's going on at left but someone drew a window to the hills (or perhaps prepared a painting transfer grid?) on a long white wall in Liguanea Plaza, Kingston. The plaza's owners, June and Tony Wong, are generous art patrons. We'll keep an eye out and hope for something wonderful to come.

Stanley H. Griffin, PhD (left) reports on the completion of the archival process (Collection or Fonds of Records) in An Archival Treasure Map: A Guide to the Riches of the UWI Archives. A Data Map has been mounted in the hallway of the UWI Archives which guides visitors to the treasures and materials in their holdings and serves as a tool for researchers to visualise record-connections and contexts. These details always deepen the mystery, enrich the journey and enrich the ‘discovery’.

Art walks and the myriad of creative activity that takes place every last Sunday of the month downtown continues. Kingston Creative's new logo embraces their vision of a vibrant Downtown, Kingston art district that can rival any cultural district in the world and they're looking for volunteers to help. If you have suggestions or want to get more involved in the movement please email them at





Sold at the Eagle II, "Auction of Fine and Important Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, On the Instruction of Financial Institution Services and a few other Private Collectors".

September 22, 2004

The Hilton Hotel

DC Tavares Finson, Auctioneers.

Carl Abrahams

Landscape with road and donkeys,

Oil on hardboard 20 x 31 inches

Estimate: 180,000-200,000

Price Realized: $250,000

Colin Garland

Boy with Fish, 1983

Oil on canvas, 12 x 14 inches

Estimate: 340,000-360,000

Price Realized: 360,000


The Jamaica Art Market Review is published monthly and surveys art market and community activity of the month prior. If you wish to add resources to this site, or if you own the copyright for any of the material on this website and do not consent to its use herein, please contact us for guidelines &/or material take down. All site content is prepared using publicly available, "as-is" information with or without examining the actual works works. artephemera®com has no vested interest in any art assets that appear herein.

One Twickenham Park | POB 703 Spanish Town | Jamaica +1-876-978-4718

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