Thursday, February 22, 2007

National Biennial 06 Artists' Talk

The National Gallery's artists' talks are always inciteful and informative and sometimes controversial. These events allow the public a further understanding of the works they loved, hated or were indifferent to. These talks are rarely recorded and so are often the only opportunity we have to interact with artists in these major exhibitions. The gallery is also one of the few institutions in Jamaica to consistently host these forums.
The talk takes place on March 1st, 2007 at 1:30pm at The National Gallery. The artists featured this year are not necessarily the same ones featured on the poster. The artists speaking are Omari Ra, Michael Elliott, Heather Sutherland Wade, Michael Layne and Franz Marzouca. The Biennial closes on March 10, 2007.



  1. A short report:
    In attendance were approximately 80-90 people. The panel consisted of Franz Marzouca, Michael Elliott, Heather Sutherland-Wade and Michael Layne. The moderator was Veerle Poupeye. Heather Sutherland-Wade spoke in a very engaging way about her father's dissaproval of her artistic talents and her perseverance nonetheless. She also spoke passionately about her artistic process as being one which I identify as being very much in keeping with the romantic idea of the modernist painter. On the other hand her business saavy shows another side to the artistic personality.

    Michael Layne spoke of being given permission by his family ot venture into the artistic life which in his community was associated with deviant pursuits.He too also metioned artistic fulfillment outweighing monetary reward. He brought a very relevant point to fore: that of audience and exhibiting environments. He participates in art fairs as well as national exhibitons such as the Biennial and is able to get different things from each setting such as honest audience interaction from the former and national recognition from the latter.

    Franz Marzouca also spoke of the need to use his artistic work to counter his commercial work which was more mechanical in its output. He mentions working on a 10 year project documenting Jamaica's vanishing history through architecture and environmental photography.

    Michael F. Elliott, the youngest artist on the panel outlined his arrival at images such as the close-up rendering of spent shells and bullets and its function as social commentary. He is also an artist very aware of 'the market' as this perhaps has allowed him to work mainly as a painter, a luxury which many art school graduates do not have.

    I am disappointed in the non-appearance of Omari Ra who is an artist whose process and artistic life would seem to be and interesting and educational one.
    This artists talk was somehow different from other National Gallery forums as the artists were clearly artists who make no bones about the commercial elements in their work and also find a way to participate in the world of high art.

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