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Jamaica Art Market Review | Nov. 2018


We waxed nostalgic about a sign seen at the recent Art and Antiques Fair for the Bolivar Gallery. The Bolivar opened in 1964 (or 1966) and since you can still visit - by appointment only since 2016 - we're happy to celebrate it as Jamaica's oldest and longest running "gallery". But the sign also serves to remind that of the 50+ art galleries that have opened in Jamaica since Independence, less than ten remain.

The sale of works in Jamaica is still very informal as artists sell their works directly, both by choice and necessity, for there are few places to show their work and market to new collectors. A genuine and healthy art market requires representation, and expertise and valuation of works of art where buyers benefit from a sales certificate which guarantees the authenticity of the work, its history and its characteristics (title, medium, dimensions, year created and the like). Much of this infrastructure is missing.

Even with regular charitable auctions being staged, amateur buyers and curious audiences still need more art education, says dealer Gilou Bauer and "new private galleries with significant exhibition space are also needed, for profit and not-for-profit, and in more than one geographic location" wrote historian and curator Veerle Poupeye on her Critical. Caribbean. Art platform. "I can only hope that this moment will be a call to action for those who can make it happen will indeed do so. The future of art in Jamaica, and the health of the Jamaican art ecology depends on it."

We agree. And we see signs of life coming from expanded visions of an art community:

We welcome Kingston Creative's initiative to develop an Art District and a Creative Hub in Downtown Kingston to host art fairs, makers markets, performances, and public art, alongside co-working spaces, studios and business accelerators for creative entrepreneurs. We believe they have their eye on the the old Wray and Nephew building pictured above for the centre of this activity.

And we welcome too the blog for online platform Suzie Wong Presents, ‘The Caribbean, Seen’ (SWP) and liberally quote from it for it gives us hope for the future.

"With the emergence of social media and the regional and global access that brings to the local, there has been a growing sense of connection between, and cohesion of, visual culture from and of the Caribbean. This increase in access has allowed space for more partnership, exchange, collaboration, funding development and a growing sense of regionality in our art communities. There has also been a steady development of very tangible and extremely valuable work in art publications, art spaces, conferences, exhibitions, residencies and scholarship. Its a promising and exciting time for contemporary visual culture in the Caribbean and although we all still face various challenges, the work continues to develop very much in response to the needs of the region’s art community.



THE 27th ANNUAL MANDEVILLE ART FAIR and Craft Fair opened on November 8th with over 500 works of art in various media from young and established artists (See video below for highlights). The brainchild of Bishop M. Boyles; the fair raises funds for 17 Catholic Diocesan institutions. Archbishop Charles Dafour of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mandeville, in expressing his gratitude, said: "[The} first letter of St Peter tells us, "Each one, as a good manager of God's different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God." (1 Peter 4:10) We are grateful each year for those artists among us who heed these words and freely and generously offer the gift of their artistic talents for the good of our brothers and sisters who are in need of our support."



Lot 71. Albert Huie, Oracabessa. c1967. Oil on hardboard, 20 1/2 by 19 1/2 inches.

Estimate: $700,000 - $800,000

Price Realized: $1,000,000

Roy Reid

November 19, 2018, KINGSTON...The first lot sold at the live Auction of Jamaican Art was Seya Parboosingh’s sunny composition Girl in Yellow Dress which realized $190,000 JAD and exceeded its pre-sale high estimate of $150,000. Only three other lots; Roy Ried's In the Spirit and Prayer and the most expensive lot, Albert Huie's Oracabessa, sold above their high estimates.

Roy Ried's Prayer (1991) and In the Spirit (1998) shown above sold for a combined $110,000. Joseph Brown's Hang Man appears below left. Colin Garland's Fish and Seya Parboosingh's Girl in a Yellow Dress are shown below right and left respectively.

Huie's tropical landscape, depicting the sky and sea and surrounds in all their shifting colours, sold for one million dollars (higher than its $700,000 and $800,000 estimates) with very active bidding in the room. Considered one of the greatest Jamaican artists, Huie's works continued to draw interest from collectors at attractive prices: four other works by him all sold, but below their low estimates.

Gilou Bauer's evening sale, which took place at the Liguanea Club, Kingston included 85 lots with 41% of the works sold for a combined value of $5.7million JAD. The sale appeared to be from a single classic collection with the addition of other consignments, including Colin Garland's delicious and diminutive Fish which, at a high $380,000-$400,000 estimate, went unsold.

Bauer's sale, with heavy emphasis on the big hanging names—Barrington Watson, Carl Abrahams, Milton George —that usually drive blue chip auctions, also included ceramics and sculpture that bidders had a heartier appetite for. Joseph Brown's Hand Man sold at --- while his Entertainment sold below --- its $50,000 estimate. A stoneware bowl by Norma Harrack sold for $85,000 and vase by Jag Mehta sold for $70,000.

Whatever the underlying cause, the numbers told a cautiously optimistic story about the bidding where most works sold without excitement (the second of Edna Manley's six studies for Lovers sold for $200,000) while historic works, such as her elegant bronze Mountain Women (est.$1m-$1.2m), generated no interest at all

Anticipating the art market is never easy, but with few empty seats and solid bidding in three corners of the room --- one bidder managed to assemble a small collection in a single evening --- Bauer, through the evening's auctioneer Jean Paul Menou, showed she could rise to the challenge. She has promised another sale in the new year and we look forward.

Here are some additional highlights:

  • Three small mixed media works by David Boxer, including one tryptch, sold for a total of $410,000. Leda (2013) and St Sebastian (1993) brought in $295,0000 (est. $150,000-160,000 and $160,000-180,000 respectively) and Three Holocaust Figures (1988) went for $115,000 (est. $130,000-150,0000).

  • Sunday Morning, a masterpiece canvas by Samere Tansley achieved a remarkable $850,000 (est. $900,000-1million) selling just as quickly as Amy Laskin's Blue Mountain Range ($120,000) and Tina Spiro's drawing of a Humming Bird (1977) at $30,000.

  • David Pottinger's Street Talk (1989) and George Rodney's Composition with Folded Paper Bag sold close to their low estimates but at a noteworthy $400,000 and $380,000 respectively and lively, vibrant, untitled painting of a man and woman by intuitive artist Gaston Tabois woman was hammered down at $275,000.

The complete round-up of the Jamaican Art Auction is available by request.


Mallica "Kapo" Reynolds (1911-89), Lonadsay Portland, 1967. Oil on panel, 18½ by 27in (47 by 68cm).

Estimate: £400-600

Price Realized: £4400 + 20% buyer’s premium

Harry Moore Gwyn at Blythe Road

West Kensington, London

October 2018


Art and architecture stars, Theaster Gates and Sir David Adjaye, collaborated with musician and activist, Bono, to curate the third (RED) AUCTION to support the fight against AIDS.

Included in the auction is Ebony G. Patterson’s work which "commands the viewer to look past the façade – of the work’s rich formal characteristics, of the fabricated fantasies increasingly traded in our consumer and social media-centric culture – and to acknowledge the realities of those not touched by the glitter and gold."

Ebony G. Patterson, ...bearing witness..., 2017. Archival dyes on jacquard, with embroidery, hand-knotted threads and assorted embellishments, 52 by 69 in. 132.1 by 175.3 cm. AP5/10

Estimate USD 15,000 - 20,000

On view through 7 December

Moore Building, Miami Design District

Live auction by Sotheby's on December 5, 2018



The Jamaica Observer reported on Chairman of Orange Park Trust (OPT), William Clarke's announcement of plans to raise $500 million in equity to fund the dream of the late painter and patriot, Barrington Watson in transforming St Thomas into an iconic attraction. Williams proposed the issue of 5,000,000 authorised, 2.5 per cent non-cumulative preference shares in the Barrington Watson Arts Centre Ltd (BWAC), valued at $100 each, for the proposed development of Orange Park, St Thomas in a bid to preserve and protect the legacy of Watson. Read the full article here.



ANNOUNCED | 13 Years After: Paintings by Errol Moo Young @ Grosvenor Galleries, Kingston, December 1 - 15, 2018 | The Christmas Collection @ The Studio, Montego Bay, December 5, 2018 |The Zari Winter Show: Works by Nakazzi Hutchinson @ The Zari Gallery London. December 3-31, 2018



Multi-media artist and educator Petrona Morrison, reviews the exhibition catalogue John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night for the College Art Association and finds therein that "... tensions exist between the radical stance reflected in (Diana) Nawi and (Nicole) Smythe-Johnson’s stated objective to overturn prevailing canons, and the scholarship of (David) Boxer, which is identified as framing this curatorial project." The book is a must read for understanding how important intuitive artists were to framing Jamaica's post-colonial identity.

PREE LIT editor Annie Paul interviews Jamaican artist Bernard Stanley Hoyes who was back on the island for a myriad of projects. Hoyes tells a wonderful tale of his exposure to art at the Institute of Jamaica and his encounters with Edna Manley and Barrington Watson therein.

Angela Baker grew up in Jamaica, but the mountains of western Newfoundland are her favourite painting subject. Baker, who came to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1976, says the geographic ruggedness of the landscape here appeals to her. Now, Baker is preparing to paint the mountains of a very different. Click on link to read the full story.

LOOP NEWS shares the journey and ambitions of portrait artist Deon Simone Green in a delightful video wherein Green talks about her inspiration (Barrington Watson), her desire (to open a gallery of her own) her sales technique (“Art is such a good investment, every year, every minute, every second, the price goes up,”) and her commercial business savvy (printing her art on merchandise to keep it sustainable).

After retiring from the JDF, self-taught painter Basil Clayton took up his childhood passion for painting professionally. "Growing up as a little child, I used to attend a primary school where I had a teacher that would draw every time she write something on the board, and that is where I first tek on to it until I start to do it by myself," he said. Click here to read the full Gleaner article. His work has been used on calendars and prints, but his greatest joy is selling to persons who will hang his work in their houses.



Sunday morning on a bus in Kingston, Jamaica, circa 1975. Photograph: William Melvin Kelley. Below right: William Melvin Kelley in Paris in 1967. Photograph: Gail Anderson/© Eyeley Photo

We are not beyond boasting that our hero and inspiration, Margaret Bernal, academic, poet, heritage specialist, and editor of ARTS JAMAICA (1982-1985) the English-speaking Caribbean’s first visual arts magazine, dropped us a line which pointed us to the Guardian's story : A glimpse into Jamaica’s soul: the lost photographs of William Melvin Kelley. Kelley, an American novelist, who is enjoying posthumous literary recognition as a lost genius of American fiction, lived in Jamaica during the 1970s and quietly documented everyday life in Jamaica at the time. About him, Bernal wrote:

"I met Bill Kelley while he lived in Jamaica interacting with the island's art community, and traveling to learn the island and its people. In this, he was like so many other American creative artists ---Richmond Barthe/ sculptor, Alex Haley/ writer, Rose Murray/ photographer --- who found Jamaica to be an audacious island, and were energized by its diversity and heritage. This is a wonderful gift to Jamaica and we should work to have the images exhibited "back home" in due course."

Indeed, Mrs Bernal, we should.


Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for New York Magazine has Jamaica on his radar again this month. In February of this year he praised Kemel Rankine's hand-painted metal signs as being more interesting than anything he had seen for a long time after he visited the New York-based Antillean Gallery's booth at the Outsider Art Fair, in New York City.

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation has awarded nearly $4 million to 125 artists and twenty-five organizations for its 2017–18 grant cycle. Among this year’s grantees is Deborah Carroll Anzinger. The Pollock-Krasner Foundation was established in 1985 for the purpose of providing financial assistance to individual working artists of established ability. It was established at the bequest of Lee Krasner, who was an American abstract expressionist painter and the widow of fellow painter Jackson Pollock



The Jamaica Art Market Review is pleased to introduce this new area of coverage. POTESTATEM is the Latin word for "power" defined as a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. In other words: OPPORTUNITY).

CALL FOR COLLABORATORS ON AN ARCHIVAL SOUND PROJECT | Deborah Carroll Anzinger is currently enlisting collaborators for a project which aims to "document our collective consciousness and intelligence at this critical moment when the relationship of our everyday lives to the economy, the environment and our futures has been agitated, is under increased tension " which will be included in a solo show at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania.

Through February 2019

The Black Lunch Table (BLT) project will host an edit-a-thon focusing on important but underrepresented Jamaican visual artists, curators and art workers of the African Diaspora. A training session will be held at the beginning, but help is available throughout the event. This event is free. Photographer, Kearra Amaya Gopee, artist in residence at New Local Space, will be taking portraits for Wikipedia. Click here for more information.

Saturday, December 8, 2018 at NLS Kingston

THE US EMBASSY, KINGSTON, CALLS FOR PROPOSALS | For the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2019 Large Grants Program. The fund provides grant awards for the preservation of cultural heritage, which “offers an opportunity to show a different American face to other countries, one that is non-commercial, non-political, and non-military.” Since the inception of the AFCP, seven Jamaican institutions have received grant funding totaling USD$267,621.00, including the National Gallery of Jamaica which has used the opportunity to conserve the national collection and restore five of its historic paintings.

Applications close December 7, 2018

THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES MUSEUM SEEKS A CURATOR | To conceive, conceptualize and implement relevant exhibitions and engage with diverse stakeholders to help showcase, through this medium, the work of the University and its contribution to the society. The Curator has responsibility for the overall management of the UWI Museum and is responsible for carrying through its mandate which is to reflect the history and development of the UWI and its contribution to the Caribbean region in whole and parts.

Click here for more information or contact:

Applications close on December 14, 2018.


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.

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