The Face of Us exhibition opens at National Gallery
Among the displays at the National Gallery of Jamaica in downtown Kingston is an exhibition, titled The Face of Us, which opened on December 10.
The exhibition, which showcases some 50 artworks by 39 Jamaican artists based locally and overseas, runs until March 31, 2023.
Visitors will have access from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily, except Saturdays and Sundays.
Viewers will see paintings, installation projects, photography, and other artforms that use portraiture to explore topics related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, crime and violence, families, memorials, legacies, environmental issues, and fiction.
Chief curator of the gallery Oneil Lawrence told said the exhibition is being held to give Jamaican artists an opportunity to display their work and for others “to experience their artwork”.
“We have a variety of people, not just trained artists, but we have people of all walks of life presenting their work here. We have students, lawyers, teachers, policemen, even reporters [and] cameramenâ€¦ We have everybody in this exhibition,” he said.
Between June and September 2023 the National Gallery extended an invitation for entries and encouraged artists to send portrait works that explored themes related to the personal and social responses of Jamaicans to various experiences over the last three years.
Lawrence noted that the gallery has not had an open-call exhibition since 2019, since it was closed for a period due to the pandemic.
“We have changed the structure of several of our exhibitions, most notably the Biennial. So we felt that, without that major exhibition, having an open component, it was necessary for us to have a series of exhibitions that give us the opportunity to see out there what people are creating and to showcase their work,” he added.
Lawrence said he wants patrons viewing the exhibition to leave with the understanding that “your creativity is not bound by who people may think you are.
“Your creativity is something that is within you, and we try as best as we can to provide a space where everybody can have a voice,” he added.
The exhibition’s featured artists who were selected through an adjudication process led by a jury panel, which included art professionals external to the gallery.