JAMAICA Art Market Review | August 6, 2022

Volume 3. Issue 1.


And so we begin again with this: the Independence Issue of the Jamaica Art Market Review. We came to a standstill the year COVID-19 hit but we resume now while the local art scene appears to be back with a vengeance which, as art publisher and philanthropist Margaret Bernal said about us in 2017, is “hopefully an omen of a phoenix rising for Jamaican art”.

There’s a lot to recap. Our department names have changed to the more colloquial but our mission remains the same: to serve the vision of Karl "Parboo" Parboosingh (1923-1975) --- to support the market for "works of beauty that can only enhance our lives" and to concern ourselves "with the welfare of the country in that the citizens gain maximum benefit from the creative production of its artists".

On occasion we will deviate from the Jamaican ecosystem to share global art market insight and events that we think are game changers for the way we think about the value of art.


If we’ve missed anything, let us know …


One Love.




 

WHAGWAAN

Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Andrew Holnesss ON, MP celebrated his 50th birthday in July and marked the occasion in joyful and fine sartorial style as evident in this photograph.

We are curious about the lovely sculptural forms on the sideboard (BAUGHaus Design Studio perhaps?) but even more so about the painting behind the PM. We wish gilded lilies and problematic Audubon birds (as seen in the Holness family's 2021 Christmas card) didn't appear in the PM's official portraits and, going forward, we wish that he would instead use these significant occasions to show off Jamaican works of art.


WEELANCOMEAGAIN | The Jamaica 60 commemorative stamp produced by Jamaica Post was unveiled. The stamp, which features the official Jamaica 60 logo celebrating our Independence, is available in denominations of J$60 and J$120. We agree with the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange that the stamps are collectible and are "going to be valuable. Particularly at this time when everything is going digital,” but the little we can see of it in the photo provided does not, as the Postmaster General, Lincoln Allen said, represent the “creativity, boldness and greatness of us as a people.”


The Portland Art Gallery, housed in the old Portland Railway Station since 2014 has burned to the ground. Amitabh Sharma reports that: "It is a devastating loss for all the artists – eight who used to create there every day, eight others whose works were at the gallery for sale, and four trainees who were picking up the nuances of the fine arts. For these Portland artists, the gallery not only provided a space to create and a source of collective livelihood, but it was a place they could call home." The report offers a gofundme link to assist in the rebuilding effort.


We love how the ROK Hotel Kingston's copy leads: "Located in the downtown art district, our hotel overlooks the Kingston Waterfront and Harbor. The National Gallery of Jamaica is across the street,..." etc., and we're intrigued with pictures of the warmth and art we see filling the PanJam Investment owned 168-room property. We'll link you to art district boss Andrea Dempster Chung's facebook photo-tour for a look-see (hope you don't mind, ADC) until the official photos arrive.

 

CORONATION (MARKET)

Albert Huie, Miss Mahogany, 1960. Oil on canvas, 24 x 34 inches. Gallery price USD 60,000

Brushes of the Past, an exquisite retrospective of Jamaican fine art from the 1960s, mounted and curated by DecorVIII's Hyacinth MacDonald and Christopher Lawrence, had a three day run at cultural icon Olive Lewin's former home on Hillcrest Avenue, Kingston. Not long enough for everyone to see, but a full-color catalogue which documented the 60 works in the show is available.

The stand out piece for us is pictured above. Miss Mahogany stirred a religious protest in 1960 when it was first exhibited, and was the object of passenger outrage in 2000 resulting in it having to be removed from the pages of Air Jamaica's in-flight magazine SkyWritings. Said Albert Huie (1920-2010) about the controversies: "The first time, I thought the people were backward because nude paintings had been shown throughout the world for years," [but] "I think these people (at Air Jamaica) are limited."

Huie would be glad to know that 60 years later Black is more beautiful than ever. The work is priced at USD 60,000 and is worth every penny.

 

Bonham's, New York held its Modern and Contemporary Art and Photography from Africa and the Diaspora live auction on July 27, 2022. Three works from Guyanese artist Aubrey Williams (1926-1990), a "key figure in global modernism during the second half of the twentieth century" were featured in the sale. All three works came from a private collection in Jamaica and were acquired directly from the artist.


(Above) Aubrey Williams, Carib Ritual, 1973. 34 1/2 x 47 inches (87.6 x 119.4cm). Estimated at $12,000 - 18,000. Sold for USD 14,025 including premium. Not pictured: Corn and the Sun, 1985 20 x 24 inches, sold for USD 7,012.50 including premium and Toucan, 1976 10 3/4 x 1/2 inches (27.3 x 34.3cm), sold for USD 3,187.50 including premium
 

KEEPING


The Kingston Biennial: Pressure --- which runs until December 31, 2022 at the National Gallery of Jamaica – invited twenty-four Jamaican born and descended artists to focus on the thematic notion of “pressure”; a deeply fertile ground for some of the most brilliant works of Jamaican cultural achievement, according to lead curator, David Scott. In response, works were created ‘at home’ by: Greg Bailey, Camille Chedda, Katrina Coombs, Ricardo Edwards, Laura Facey, CD, Monique Gilpin, Christopher Irons, Marlon James, Phillip Thomas, Matthew McCarthy, Omari Ra, Oneika Russell. And from Australia: Robin Clare; Trinidad: Roberta Stoddart, Jasmine Thomas-Girvan the United Kingdom: Kaleb D’Aguilar, Hurvin Anderson and the United States: Simon Benjamin, Alicia Brown, Nadine Hall, Satch Hoyt, Leasho Johnson, Arthur Simms, and Nari Ward. The 2022 Biennial is co-curated by Nicole Smythe-Johnson, Wayne Modest and NGJ's Chief Curator O’Neil Lawrence. Click here for more information.



Delighted to announce that Jacqueline Bishop will be an exhibiting artist in the Ferrin Contemporary show Our America/Whose America? which opens on August 11 in North Adams, Massachusettes. The show presents a dialogue between contemporary artists works and a collection of historical ceramics and therein Bishop explores The Market Woman's Story (2021) with a set of 15 digital prints on commercial plates.

“The market woman is the locus of conflicting anxieties, fantasies and projections. She is entrepreneurial, occupies public space, is hyper-visible and yet also invisible.

And she is powerful. We've lifted three images here: The Market Woman —12, —13 and —14, but the full expression can be seen on the Ferrin Contemporary's website. Photo credit: Jenny Harper.



NOW CLOSED


We were honoured to work with Laura Facey on her exhibition The Laboratory of the Ticking Heart (May 1 - July 29, 2022) at Ormsby Memorial Hall, in Kingston and will certainly devote an upcoming JAMR issue to the experience. In the meantime, and in order to avoid any notion of bias in commenting on the success of the show, the tremendous works by the artist, the social impact of the project and the love from the community, we'll reprint Annie Paul's facebook comment about the show that, for us, says it all: "An amazing precedent for art exhibitions." Indeed.



JAMAICA MAKING | Thirty-three works from the private collection of Theresa Roberts were exhibited at the historic Victoria Gallery and Museum in Liverpool and formed the first exhibition of wholly Jamaican art in North West England. Theresa Roberts was born in Jamaica, but joined her parents in the United Kingdom as part of the Windrush Generation. "Jamaica never left me although I had left Jamaica," says Roberts; and buying Jamaican art gave her a way to reconnect with her childhood and provide a permanent link with home.

We are grateful for Mrs Roberts continued patronage of Jamaican art and for the opportunity to present at the Jamaica Making Symposium organised by Liverpool John Moores University in conjunction with the University of Liverpool, and to discuss why, unlike art from other Caribbean islands, such as Haiti or Cuba, our art of Jamaica has not received due attention in other parts of the world.

Preliminarily, we found that two paintings acquired in the 1940s by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York; René Vincent’s Le combat des coqs (Cock Fight) 1940, and Wilfredo Lam's La Jungla (The Jungle), 1943 assisted in the development and internationalization of Haitian and Cuban art and signalled to the tastemakers, collectors and academics the importance of the art movements in these countries. A book, edited by Dr Emma Roberts, accompanied the exhibition and has generously been made available by open access for viewing here.

 

TODIWERL (As seen in the farrin' press, social and multi-media projects and publications)


^ Basil Watson's towering (11.5 foot) bronze National Windrush Monument was unveiled in Waterloo Station, London in June 2022. The monument memorialises the 500 Caribbean people who sailed aboard the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948, and who moved to Britain between 1948 and 1970, to rectify the post WWII labour shortage .

Watson (right) spoke about his parents who “...along with a great many others, took the long arduous voyage from the Caribbean with very little or nothing other than their aspirations, their courage and a promise of opportunity for advancement. This monument tells that story of hope, determination, a strong belief in selves and a vision for the future.“ And in those grips that form the plinth of the work, held everything of value that families had in their possession and the culture they shared with the world.

< During the 100 days of DOCUMENTA 15 (June 18 - September 25, 2022) in Kassel, German, virtual sessions of Oneika Russell's [The] Personal Storytelling Workshop will be joining Alice Yard at their DOCUMENTA 15 presentation.

This workshop continues the social engagement work Russell began in her practice during 2020 and uses a specially designed Personal Storytelling Tool: a deck of cards for self-inquiry and social engagement which reference the imagery in Russell's previous work but also that of the artists Mafalda Mondestin (Haiti), Ludgi Savon (Martinique) and Phillip Thomas (Jamaica). More information is available here.


SPEAKING of CARDS | The New York Times journalist Emma Palmer has been tasked with writing a series of obituaries for women who made significant contributions in their lifetimes but who had been erased from cultural memory. One such woman is the artist Pamela Coleman Smith (1878-1951) and, naturally, there's a Jamaican connection*.

To make a long story short: Pamela, who was born of English and American parents, lived in Jamaica from age 10 to 15. This time would have a profound impact on her, for here she was exposed to Jamaican folklore as told by her nanny in late-night Anansi stories. Pamela left Jamaica to study illustration at the Pratt Institute of Art, NY and in 1899 she published Annancy Stories (R.H. Russell Publishers, NY) and Chim-Chim, Folk Stories from Jamaica in 1905.

She used her unique Anansi portfolio to distinguish her work professionally and was subsequently commissioned to create the 80 original pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations which became the Rider-Waite tarot deck (Rider and Son’s Imprints, London, 1910) --- the most popular tarot cards in the world which have sold 100 million decks in 20 countries to date.

But not in Jamaica, of course, because as we told Ms Palmer we’re a God-fearing, Christian society, and our Obeah Act 1854 precludes us from composing, printing, selling, or distributing any pamphlet, or printed matter which promotes mystical or magical powers, or practices having African roots.

But we did propose the theory that were it not for Pamela's exposure to the West African mythology of Anansi, and to the gifts of story telling through divine and inanimate symbols, and to morality and cautionary tales spoken in parables, she would not have been able to so successfully express her imagination and execute the tarot deck which exists to this day. Alas, 1951 Pamela died in 1951 in obscurity and her home and its contents were sold to pay her debts.


Jack Mandora me nuh choose none.


 

The ATLANTIC WORLD ART FAIR had its second iteration his year. This virtual event champions artists from the Caribbean, the Atlantic Islands and the region's wider diaspora "an under-represented, dynamic region of innovation ..[whose]. contemporary artists ...reflect intertwined histories, relations ancultures informed by peoples of Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe.

This is the new frontier in art and we're here for it. Glad to see that the presenting galleries to date include our very own Frame Centre, Suzie Wong Presents, Olympia Gallery and UK newcomer representing Caribbean art, the OCA Gallery.


The first monograph/comprehensive overview of the career to date of British-born Jamaican artist Hurvin Anderson (b. 1965) will be available on Amazon in October. Turner Prize-nominated artist, who relates to the Caribbean as both insider and outsider, is best known for his brightly painted, densely detailed landscapes and interior scenes. His 1998 swimming pool painting Audition sold for £7,369,000, at Christies in October 2021 setting a new world record for the artist at auction. This book, curated by Anderson, includes paintings, sketches, source material and ephemera, studio shots, and a series of black-and-white drawings created exclusively for this publication.


The Onyx Foundation launched its instagram page @davidboxeronyxfoundation with a single photograph of David Boxer (1946-2017) taken by Donnette Zacca and announced its mission to use the platform to archive his estate and share with followers the legacy of the late Jamaican art historian, curator, collector and artist. No further updates have been made as at the time of this writing, but we continue to watch this space.



CONGRATULATIONS to Richard Nattoo whose submission Deep-sea Exploration won the International Seabed Authority (ISA) United Nations World Ocean Day 2022 art competition. “There is a deep-sea rover, a shining light and the ocean floor in the background. These rovers are some of the tools used to explore the seabed. The how, why, where and who of the piece,” Nattoo explained, are the nuances that commit to capturing the essence of unexplored oceans.

According to the Observer, he holds a degree from the Caribbean School of Architecture at the University of Technology, Jamaica but says "My life purpose affi raise di creative consciousness of the contemporary Jamaican.” Nattoo works primarily with watercolours on paper and is largely self-developed, having received his only formal art education at secondary level.


He gives credit to the Kingston On the Edge annual festival which allowed him an outlet to consistently exhibit his work. He authored the children’s book Ian Takes Flight. He won the Kingston Creative-H&L gift card competitions in 2020 and 2021. He was also a beneficiary of CATAPULT COVID-19 Relief Arts Grant that provided cash or capacity-building support to creatives across the Caribbean. In addition to a US$1,500 prize, Natoo's artwork will be featured in the ISA’s 2022 greetings card and calendar projects.

 

MIDEHYAH

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) announced the appointment of Roxanne Silent as its Acting Senior Director. Silent brings nearly three decades of working knowledge of the NGJ and the thousands of works of art that flow in and out of the Gallery and which reside there, through her substantive post as Records & Information Officer (Registrar) and from working in the post of Director – Finance and Administration, as well Board Secretary.

We are thrilled that the NGJ, its mission and all its stakeholders are in good hands. Silent is pictured here seated in front of Aubrey Williams' God of Corn and Plenty, 1973. Photo: NGJ



Art advisor, curator and auction organizer Gilou Bauer has been accredited by the Appraisers Association of America (AAA), as an art appraiser. While her specialisation is in Self-Taught/Outsider Art her experience in appraising Modern Contemporary Jamaican art comes from her years as owner of the Bay Gallery in Montego Bay and curator of the Mutual Gallery in Kingston.

Bauer's appraisal assignments primarily focus on insurance scheduling and resale activity but her training covers estate tax liability and planning, collateral loan and charitable donations where standards include specific rules and regulations with government agencies including the IRS.


 

WALK GOOD (AND MAY GOOD DUPPY FOLLOW YOU)

Conard Stone (1986-2022) was born in Thompson Town, Clarendon and from age nine showed interest and acumen in carving. At 14 he met his lifelong teacher, Lancelot Bryan from Old Harbour's Might Gully Youth Project, and promised himself then that he would match his teacher's talent. Stone's work with "ligi", the tough lignum vitae wood was award winning. Knowledge won the First Place Jury Prize for the Most Outstanding Entry in Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's 2018 Jamaica Visual Arts Competition and his Rose received the crescendo bid at the 2021 WARE Collective fundraising auction. Read and see more about Stone's work here.


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