J'can art to open new London gallery

Monday, October 10, 2011

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A six-day exhibition of works by Jamaican artists is scheduled to open in London, England tomorrow to coincide with Jamaican Theresa Roberts's launch of Black Circle Gallery in that city.


Titled 'Spirit of Jamaica', the exhibition will feature pieces by Laura Facey-Cooper, Phillip Thomas, Laura Hamilton, Kristina Rowe and Monique Lofters.


A news release from the organiser said that Black Circle Gallery will promote artists from countries which are under-represented in Europe.


"Theresa Roberts is a Jamaican by birth, and this first exhibition showcasing young Jamaican talent is a natural starting point reflecting her heritage," said the news release.


"Superficial notions of Jamaican culture which are portrayed in the mainstream media in Europe fail to take into account the sophisticated visual arts community which exists in the country," added the release. "This diverse and dynamic arts scene is in no small part due to the legacy of 'the Mother of Jamaican Art' Edna Manley who established disciplines and infrastructures in the country which would be immediately recognisable to the Anglo-Saxon eye but which have evolved over the 49 years since independence to become uniquely Jamaican in character."


The artists in the show, the organiser said, represent the best of the new wave of artists, following in the footsteps of past masters such as Albert Huie, Barrington Watson and John Dunkley, all of whom have established reputations beyond the West Indies.


"Although crudely categorised as a new wave of artists, the individuals do, of course, represent talent at different stages of maturity and at different points in their careers," said the news release.


"Monique Lofters and Kristina Rowe were the undoubted stars of the Edna Manley Art College final year show in 2009. These are two young women who have a huge amount to say about the role of women in Jamaica today," added the release.


"Laura Facey and Laura Hamilton are, in contrast, established and popular artists in Jamaica who have also exhibited overseas and are starting to gain international reputations. Facey's sculpture Their Spirit Gone Before Them has been exhibited in museums outside Jamaica and has created international interest befitting its subject matter and the quality of its execution."


Phillip Thomas, rated as the rising star of Jamaican art, is an articulate and thoughtful individual who is already represented by a dealer in New York.


Thomas deals with the place of black culture in Europe through his depictions of recognisably European figures from history with "blackness" imposed upon them.


"This technique forces us — sometimes uncomfortably — to question the way in which European culture and history have been presented to us," said the organiser.






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