Christina Leslie's Portraits

N.L.S., A New Local Space

Deborah Caroll Anzinger's artist run residency and exhibition space in Kingston


Leasho Johnson's Provocative Re-interpretation in 'Canopy Guild'

Light Sensitive

Marlon James' black and whites

Annalee Davis: ON THE MAP

Caribbean Political Documentary

Monday, November 3, 2008

LOOKING AHEAD: There are times when I look back....


A newish old space holds a second launch with an exhibition of contemporary art. The curator and director of the space Rozi Chung sees the show as launching the new Jamaican artist. At the same time the show goes back to a time when being rude, loud, raw, smart, clever, informed, playful was what art was about. A time before commercial gallery art shows and artists prizes and slickness. A new, old moment. The show opens on Saturday November 8, 2008 @ 3pm. There will be a mix and expansion of what we call art. Graphic artists, screenwriters, painters, musicians, pop dancers will be part of the opening event. The space may be found at 174 Harbour Street, with its entrance on West Street. Coincidentally it is also a stone's throw away from The National Gallery of Jamaica. We invite you to attend and post comments or images on the experience.

'Studio 174- Press Release

Located at 174 Harbour Street Kingston (Down Town), Studio 174 –home to a collection of young Artists recently graduate from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Presents its second opening, titled “ Young Gifted and Black”, with guest speaker Rose Bennett, Attorney at law Slated to commerce at 3.00pm on the 8th of November 2008, the exhibit will represent the dynamic and creative expressions of an empowered group of young Jamaican talent destined to leave the imprints on the Jamaican culture and people. This is defined by their deliberated move from being based in an uptown Artistic Avenue to a venue more directly positioned in Downtown Kingston, the catalyst of new artist dynamism.

The gesture is aimed at creating a hub in which Art influences and is influence by community development, cultural exchange, heritage and tourism embodying an idea more than social intervention bringing a multifaceted approach to building a foundation. It is the hope that with this youthful vision others will be of a mind to initiate similar entrepreneurial feats, fostering new endeavours, found on a revolutionary artistic direction which challenges the stereotypical misconceptions and directions of Art.'

Thursday, August 21, 2008

NIGGAH DEH WINNAH: Lawrence Graham Brown

Still on the highs of the wins made in Beijing by the Jamaican team, it seems appropriate to speak about 'Niggah Deh Winnah'. Lawrence Graham-Brown, A Jamaican artist based in the United States who has exhibited regularly on the Jamaican art scene,tells us about his work.

I first saw Graham-Brown's work in the 2005 Biennial at The National Gallery. I was convinced it was the work of a newly emerging older artist, given the 'intuitive' use of materials and the links to the work of contemporary intuitives like David Marchand.The scribbling of the text 'Niggah Deh Winnah' on work in later exhibitions however began to put this to rest. This was an artist who had sly covert and deeply political concern. This I must admit revealed my prejudice of the label 'intuitive'. I looked at the method of craftsmanship, the colour scheme, manner of representation and immediately felt that this must be the work of one of the artists we often label 'Intuitives'. The label often seems associated with a kind of mysticism and romanticism about their process and 'inspiration'.

This is how I placed Graham-Brown neatly in a box as I tried to absorb the huge phallus attached to a small ethnicized figurine resembling a kind of centaur. The phrase 'Niggah Deh Winnah' kept appearing on his work mounted in various group exhibitions held locally in the last two or so years. Appearing in shows such as 'Materialising Slavery' an installation-focused exhibit at the Institute of Jamaica last September and the JCDC Fine Arts Festival in 2007. Graham-Brown's work has since helped me travel further into the intellectual depth of our Intuitive artists such as Ras Dizzy, Everald Brown and Evadne Cruikshank. The artist now gives us some insight into the series.

'Wrestling with struggles within the confines and legacies
of Black self-hatred, gay self-hatred, Black-ness,
Jamaican-ness, African-ness, sexuality, class and religion.
With influences from the Rastafarian movement, Hon. Marcus
Garvey, history, the present and the future for my artistic
commentary and protest.

There are three themes that my work circum-navigates:

The series “The legacy of degradation. The Black man
relegated to a life of servitude and the beast of
burden.” This is the genesis of my work from my Black
memorabilia collection. A re-discovery of Black hatred and
a quest for identity has driven me to investigating
architectural components of Black servitude, free labor and
its legacies via modern industrialization example: the
prison system, factories, hospitals, and domestics in the
form of printed historical documents from the
mid-nineteenth century to the present. displayed in a
collage mixed media.

The series The Nigger the Winner, “Niggah deh Winnah”
Pan-African play on words, is a form of aspiration and
protest for my race. Since the images that I use in my art
are so degrading of the Negro. "Negro in impropia
Writing the words in a broken Jamaican dialect [patois]
is a form of passive protest of the colonizers language.

C. The series “Who is most masculine?” interrogates and
comments on masculine constructs, identities and legacies by
the display of power and control within the domestics,
tourist trade, industrialization, gender policing within
the Afro-Caribbean culture and the gay balls in the United
States via dvd.'
- Lawrence Graham-Brown

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tribute to Christopher Gonzalez

Image source:

The following obituary was issued by the Edna Manley College:


The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts deeply regrets the passing of the acclaimed Jamaican sculptor and painter, Christopher Gonzalez, who was one of its earliest graduates and a former lecturer at its school of art.

Christopher Gonzalez was born in 1943 in Manchester, Jamaica. In 1963, he was among the first diploma graduates of what was then still known as the Jamaica School of Art and Crafts, along with Kenneth Kellyman (Painting) and Gasseth Brown (Sculpture). He had studied there under the Scottish-born sculptor Bill Broome, who served as head of the Sculpture department and Deputy Director of Studies at the time. Gonzalez continued his studies at the California College of Arts and Crafts in the early 1970s, where he obtained an MFA. His studies also included travel to Mexico and Scandinavia, where he encountered the work of the Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, whose mystical symbolism and interlocking organic forms became a lifelong influence. He also taught at the Jamaica School of Art from 1964 to 1969 and again in the 1970s. He served as head of the Sculpture department from 1977 to 1979, when he moved to Atlanta to take up a position as Artist-in-Residence at the Spelman College, one of the historically Black colleges in that city.

Gonzalez’s talents were recognized from early on. While still a student in 1963, he was commissioned to produce an abstract relief sculpture for the Jamaica Manufacturers Association, as part of a project brokered by Aaron Matalon. His first public commissions came in 1965. One was a portrait but of George William Gordon for the Morant Bay Rebellion shrine at National Heroes Park in Kingston, where it stands in the company of the half-body version of Edna Manley’s Paul Bogle statue. The other was a Coat of Arms relief for Vale Royal. In 1975, Gonzalez also produced the two sculptures – titled Birth of the Nation and Unity of the Nation – for the Norman Manley shrine at National Heroes Park. Gonzalez received the Institute of Jamaica’s Silver Musgrave Medal in 1974, as one of the youngest artists ever to be granted such an award.

Gonzalez was in great demand for public and private commissions but some of these proved controversial. In 1968, he was produced a ciment fondu statue of The Risen Christ for Holy Cross Church (1968) in Kingston, but it was rejected by the Church authorities because the figure’s penis was prominently visible through its windswept clothes. Gonzalez explained that he had merely wished to assert that Christ was a man. It was subsequently acquired by A.D. Scott for his Olympia International Art Centre collection and it is today recognized as one of his finest works. In 1973, the St. Jude’s Church in Stony Hill commissioned a Christ figure, which was executed in beaten copper. Some objected to the assertive representation of Christ as a Black, dread-locksed man and the unconventional iconography, which combined the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension into one image, but the sculpture was ultimately accepted.

The most public controversy came in 1983 with his Bob Marley monument, which was rejected by the public and members of the Marley family before it was even unveiled and withdrawn by the Government. Gonzalez, who still lived in Atlanta at that time, had opted to represent Marley symbolically as a mystical “rootsman,” a concept that was certainly compatible with Marley’s own beliefs, but the monument’s critics wished to see the physical likeness of the late reggae singer instead. This wish was fulfilled with a new statue of Marley by Alvin Marriott which was erected in 1985. The original statue was moved to the National Gallery of Jamaica, where it was on display for many years and became one of the most popular exhibits, although Gonzalez was unhappy about this arrangement which, he felt, hid the statue from public view. It was in 2002 moved to the Island Village duty free shopping and entertainment complex, near the Ocho Rios cruise ship, where it remains on view to the present day. Although he did return to Jamaica in 1984, the rejection of his Marley statue was a significant professional disappointment for Gonzalez and he produced only a few sculptures afterwards. Instead, he focused on his drawings and paintings and his trademark watercolours became very popular in the local art market.

While he produced some abstract work in the beginning of his career, under the influence of his lecturer Bill Broome, Gonzalez’s mature style has been consistently figurative and is best described as expressionist and symbolist. It is characterized by undulating, onionskin-like linear forms and stylized human figures with high foreheads and serene expressions, devices which he uses to express a mystical vision of humanity. While it has affinities with the work of Vigeland, Edna Manley and certain aspects of West African art and relates to that of his peers Gene Pearson, Cecil Cooper and Philip Supersad, Gonzalez’s style is uniquely his own and the general popularity of his work, despite the painful controversies, illustrates that it appeals to modern Jamaica’s aesthetic sensibilities. His work is represented in many public and private collections in Jamaica and abroad, including the National Gallery of Jamaica, the Bank of Jamaica, the Wallace Campbell Collection and the Denny Repole collection.

Christopher Gonzalez passed away on Saturday, August 2, at age 65. He is survived by his wife, Champayne Clarke-Gonzalez, and six children. His daughter Christina is currently a student at the Edna Manley College’s School of Dance. The Board of Directors, Principal, Staff and Students of the Edna Manley College extend their condolences to the family and friends of Christopher Gonzalez and pay tribute to this great Jamaican sculptor and painter.

Veerle Poupeye

Monday, June 16, 2008


Kingston on the Edge returns this year after last years success. It is a growing phenomenon and injects some vibrance into the summer art scene. The programme line up involves music, performance, a gallery crawl, screenings etc. Check out the programme below and please send us images and comments on your experience of the various events. For more info. visit and send emails to ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO SEE AN ENLARGED VERSION OF THIS YEARS PROGRAMME SCHEDULE.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Curator's Eye 3: The newness and nowness of our cultural past

The Curator's Eye III opened at the National Gallery of Jamaica on April 27, 2008. The show comes around every two years and provides a thesis about contemporary Jamaican art propsed by an internationally invited curator. The curators invited in the past have been Lower Stokes Sims and Eddie Chambers. This year Keith Morrison of the Tyler School of Art was invited. From September 2007, artists were invited to share in Morrison's vision for this show- Ceremony in Space, Time and Sound. The National Gallery's press release lists the artists exhibiting as:
'LOCAL ARTISTS: Cleve Bowen, Carol Campbell, Carol Crichton, Paula Daley, Andy Jefferson, Ras Kassa, O'Neil Lawrence, Khepera Oluyia Hatshepwa and Oneika Russell.
INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS:Albert Chong, Michelle Eistrup, Lawrence Graham-Brown, Ebony G. Patterson and Tal Rickards'

Artists were encouraged to create fresh work in multimedia thus resulting in a numerous new pieces involving video, photography digital prints being exhibited. It will be interesting to see whether this show has opened a path for more Jamaican artists to exhibit work which delves into the sphere of video and digital media. If this is the case then such a show would then become a part of the nation's history of art-making. The curator has sought to extend this concept into the documentation of the show as he seeks to utilise digital media to market the show and its proposal of contemporary Jamaican art. To reimagine ceremony, which usually reminds me of ritual, ancestry, spirituality, history and pre-modern analogue practice, in a digital realm certainly promises something edgy in our cultural landscape.

The notion of 'Ceremony' was evidently interpreted in diverse ways. Artists perhaps used this plunge into new working methods to tackle more confrontational subject matter. Bleached ivory faces on black bodies, burned domestic interiors evoking acts of violence, figures sculpted in the gestures of Afro-Christian religions were just a few of the works exhibited. As I will not be on-site to see this show I invite you to read the curator's ideas and give us feedback on issues such as the timeliness of the exhibition, its approach to Jamaican art, relationship to past curator's eye exhibitions, the value of the distinguishing between local and international artists in a show reflecting on 'Jamaican Art', your notion of 'Ceremony' and its relevance in Jamaican culture etc.

Excerpts from the curator's exhibition write-up follow:
'The Curator’s Eye III consists of art by 15 artists, four of whom live abroad. I call the exhibition “Ceremony in Space, Time and Sound” because the media the artists use involve dimensions that extend forms of visual forms of art. The exhibition involves film, TV and video projections, room installations, interactive art, along with paintings, photographs; prints and sculptures. It is an exhibition with a variety of ceremonial themes to be found in Jamaican art, reflecting a dynamism from which Jamaica takes its cultural character and a source of a continuum from the cultures of ancient Africa to our time. Of course, not all Jamaicans are descendants of slaves or of Africans. Jamaicans are Black, White, Maroon, Chinese, Indian, Jewish, Arab, and just about all others. However, as is commonly known, and as The Curator’s Eye III further substantiates, the cultural originality of the country is strongly affected by Africa and practices evolved from the days of slavery.'
--- Keith Morrison

The following three paragraphs are on walls in the galleries of the Curator’s Eye III

“… it appears to me that the seeds for inclusion in Jamaican art lies in of some of the authentic ideas that characterize the country, such as ceremonial practices, religious or secular rituals, dancehalls, and street life, are probably best cultivated through the populist iconography of new media. “Populist” because its signs, symbols, metaphors, and narrative are commonly known; and the visual language of the art is vernacular. And in the case of electronic media, the art is also populist because it may be shared by a wider segment of the population than rational art, since the cost to own or reproduce it (copying DVD, CD, and video, or internet access) is negligible.”
--- Keith Morrison

‘Originality in art is not how well artists emulate standards set by other cultures (e.g., Europe or the US), but how well they bring new ideas to the fore. Originality is the basis for cultural distinction, without which one is merely a follower, a footnote to the legacy of others. Originality, which comes from new idea, is needed before art can be made. New idea is the foundation of originality. In my opinion, without originality there is no art. Refinement of existing art ideas may be fascinating virtuosity, attained by the very few with superior skill, may be entertaining and enjoyable, but that by itself is what I would call more technical finesse than art. Originality by itself may not be art, but all true art I have seen includes originality. Original art is art that is potentially important. And importance is the criterion for change or influence on the art world at large. Jamaica is ripe with original ideas that may make new and important world-class art. These ideas are to be found in Jamaica’s spiritual and religious practices, its legacy from slavery, its multilayer ethnicity, Jamaican style, music, language, and attitude.”
- Keith Morrison

“But often the best art is strident, even offensive, as it rubs against the grain to reveal complex and contradictory truths of the society it serves. So it is in contemporary Jamaica. And so perhaps the nucleus of originality of contemporary art in Jamaica is in the imagery of sex and gangsta in the Dancehall culture, which takes impetus from the mores of the slums of Kingston and flaunted as phallic shoot-outs in spotlights that defy perceived middleclass denial and suppression, as explored in this exhibition by several artists. But if the slum and Dancehall culture form the prominent contemporary paradigm for Jamaican art, it shares the stage with some other sources from which it springs, as seen in the work of other artists in the show, whose ideas harkening back to ancient Africa, through slavery, festivals, rituals, ceremonies and the urban popular culture. Jamaican artist are expressing a richly layered aesthetic as revealed in the work if these 14 artists. Jamaican artists stand to become world-class leaders through exploring the originality of their culture with its multiethnic racial and ethnic experiences, unique religious diversity and profound ceremonial practices. If The Curator’s Eye III is any indication, the future of art by Jamaicans could be internationally outstanding.”
--- Keith Morrison
In order of apperance, the images show the work of Oneil Lawrence, Michelle Eistrup, Ras Kassa, Ebony Patterson and Lawrence Graham-Brown. Images contributed by Susan Alunan

Monday, March 17, 2008

An Artist at An Auction

The Mutual Gallery recently organized an auction of art by contemporary and/or emerging artists. This was a bold move by Gilou Bauer, the gallery's curator, as auctions in Jamaica have mainly been a haven for collectors of established artists. The auctioneer, William Tavares-Finson said it was his first auction for younger artists in his orientation talk. I suppose the art market in Jamaica, like several other places, needs stability and surety as works while being enjoyable also seem to be viewed as investments. The curator, auctioneer and artists involved where not certain the outcome and one of the concerns that arose was whether artists would be in attendance. As generally auctions proved to be unnerving experiences. Even highly saleable artists such as Damien Hirst stay away from auctions of their work. In the sale of his recent participation in the RED auction of contemporary art, he spoke of worrying whether it would at least make the 20 million dollar mark. While in Jamaica, we are far off from worrying about sums as large as this I was interested to find out how one artist who attended the auction handled it. The artist I have asked to speak about her experience is Stacy-Ann Hyde, a past winner of the JCDC Studio Prize Award. Her report follows:

"This was the first auction of any kind that I was attending so I was pretty anxious. The fact that I had work in the auction was very exciting but also made me a little nervous as I was not sure what to expect.

I saw work after work going up and coming down. Some works were not bid on at all, while some stayed on bid for quite a while. As they got closer to my works, I became a little tense as I did not consider my works as typical.

Unfortunately I had another engagement that same evening (pantomime) and I was already running behind. I had to leave before they got to my works however my bf was there and he stayed behind to give me the low down.

No one bid on my work...aaawww. I guess it was better for me not to have been there as I felt quite disappointed. My bf tried to reassure me that persons expressed interest even though no one bid. It was hard to stay in good spirit.

Some of the works which were bid on were by well known and not so well known artist, some of who were also at the auction. I enjoyed the experience I must say and didn't feel too bad after awhile. One of my works was bought after the auction

All in all I had a great experience and as this auction was the first of its kind at Mutual Gallery, I was glad to share in the experience and look forward to doing it again.

The auction process I think is great for artist as it gives us a "feel" of what investors are looking for, what we can push and what we should reconsider (if any at all). I would definitely subject myself to this process again."

On a closing note, this auction of contemporary art has come to function in a perhaps unintended or intended way. Persons attending the auction seemed to have come to the auction to see a display of available work and their reserve prices. Being shrewd Jamaican collectors the majority chose not to bid but came after the auction to purchase the work at the reserve price thus securing fixed prices at the low-level. As a new phenomenon within the arts scene I am interested to see what changes this will lead to. Will artists respond in turn and raise their reserve prices, will this become an annual contemporary art market setting values for the rest of the year or will it lead to the flourishing of the currently rare-breed, the contemporary art collector.

Friday, February 15, 2008

State of the Arts: A Letter from Christopher Gonzalez

An example of Christopher Gonzalez's work from

When ART:Jamaica sent out its first e-newsletter in November 2007,we received a an email from Christopher Gonzalez, famed Jamaican artist, speaking about many timely issues within Jamaican contemporary art. I then assured Mr. Gonzalez that this blog was founded to promote the under-reperesented, whoever that may be. We do however focus on contemporary art as we want to help develop a culture once again of the same passion and openness that existed in the early days of the Jamaica School of Art in the Seventies. Mr. Gonzalez raises many issues which link to the history and nature of the way art has developed in this country. We welcome dialogue and invite you to engage in a discussion. His letter follows below.These views do not necessarily reflect the views of ART:Jamaica

What is contemporary Jamaican Art ? Is it a take off from the American Art contemporary , where any freaky cocaine Art is accepted ? How in the world can we be influenced by this " Bastard culture ", " This Commercial Harlot" Can someone tell me this ?
In what way can " timeshow design" assist the development of Art in Jamaica ? Will they lobby with the Government to establish a Policy to protect the Arts and the Artists, since they do not listen to us for years now? There is now an upsurge in the interest of the Arts and I wonder if it is really genuine and sincere, or they have awaken to the potencialy mega-earning power and want to rob and exploit the Artists again as they have done over the years.

The Great King Pin of NCB instead of supporting the Jamaican Artists , he supported the" Large" Kingston Art collector.......... making that collector more wealthy . I am one of the Artists he has exploited . Twenty years ago I wrote a letter expressing my disgust in his attitude to artists. He has not bought a piece of thumbnail sketch from me since.

The Artists are the ones needing support, not the wealthy Patrons ! His brother keeps sponsoring Artists under 40 years old . This has always been the way here in Jamaica, delete the older Artists and promote the young ! This is dreadfuly wrong ! I remember as a young Artist , they droped Alvin Marriot and gave me a public commission because they could exploit me in terms of price. The first real public commission I got was the portrait of William Gordon, they paid me $100.00 Jamaican. They could not pay Marriot that figure !

I saw the show , "Young Generation" I got a bit confused , since I felt I was somewhere in New York or California. The Art reflect absolutely no Caribbean flavour or feelings ! Someone in the Gallery, on the afternoon I visited , said , " Art is Universal" Yes ! I agree , but it should carry Identity ! Please do not misunderstand, I am all for experimentation and exploration in contemporary imagery. More than twenty years ago , I taught a class in Three dimensional
design at The Edna Manley college( at that time, The Jamaica school of arts ) it was all about experimentation , but not to the cost of identity ! Maybe, this is the way of the 21st century , delete all aspects of Nationality and Identity and become a non entity in the so called "Global Village".........................

We really need to look into this trend of ignoring the older Artists for the young, remember , the older Artists paved the way for these younger ones and they have suffered much exploitation and disrespect in the past and still experiencing . Why the "King" don't sponsor at the end of the year, a show for Artists over 50 years old and put up 1.5ml. as first prize ? Are we like old books that you put in the store room and take them out when you want to give them a token award ? The same thing will happen when these present young Artists reach over 40 or 50. This is wrong , wrong , wrong !

Another negative this does is to create division betwwen the young and older Artists , giving the younger ones the illusion that they are more progressive and the older ones nonprogressive, stagnant, not contemporary........The young Artists have never invited me to their show( one or two may do it) The Mutual life Gallery clearly told me , the Gallery do not invite Artists, it is left entirely up to the exhibiting Artist or Artists. Is this healthy ?
Best regards !

Sincerely ,
Christopher Gonzalez

Do you agree or disagree with this letter?; What has your experience been as an artist, collector or agent/dealer/curator/art lover etc.? What steps can we take to ensure inclusion for artists and their rights. Is it a collector-driven system and if so, how has it shaped the arts in Jamaica and what are its advantages and disadvantages.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

SYMBIOSIS: Marlon Griffith

Marlon Griffith, a young Trinidadian artist, had his first solo show in Jamaica towards the end of 2007. He mounted the show at The CAG[e] Gallery, Edna Manley College, in completion of his residency programme with Caraibes en Creation through the French Embassy. The artists previous work documented online reveals a concern with social activism, notably his P-O-L-I-T-E performance done in Cape Town,

This work however, while retaining social concerns, seems more concerned with aesthetics and craft. This work is significant within contemporary shows in Jamaica as it seeks to creates an experience of the work than focusing on the work. Installation, as is true internationally, is becoming an increasingly popular medium/method among artists. Symbiosis departed slightly from much of the installation work we have seen in Jamaica.

There were two materials used to convey the metamorphosis/re-shaping of symbols such as the hummingbird: paper and light. Producing an effect like a frail paper garden. In our installations where we expect 'serious' content to be delivered in a manner that is overwhelming, Symbiosis differed. Airiness & whimsy were as much a part of a sculptural work intended to speak about issues as 'serious' as territorialism.

As the show was mostly an installation piece, another issue arises, how do we relate to it as Jamaican art consumers. The show offered nothing for sale, so how does the notorious Jamaican collector relate to this work. In Jamaica, can we deal with the idea of art which is not for sale? How do we regard an artist deliberately not participating in the collector's/commodity game? With more local artists using paper for sculpture and installation how important is the permanece of material to your regard for the importance of the work.

If you saw this show or wish to give feedback please leave your comment.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Materialising Slavery: Art, Artefact Memory and Identity

Images taken of the current exhibition at the Institute of Jamaica

The opening of the exhibition Materialising Slavery: Art, Artefact Memory and Identity was very well attended on Thursday, December 13, at 3 pm. Wayne Modest set the stage with the historical background of our Nation and the context within which each representing artist and ambassador leads. The exhibiting artists are David Boxer, Lawrence Graham-Brown, Christopher Irons, Khalfani Ra and Oneika Russell.

Though exhibited within fragmented spaces, the consistent threads that tied the exhibition together as a powerful forward movement shared by more established artists and the younger generation set examples for us all, as we celebrate the mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Trade of enslaved Africans to Jamaica.

The theory of existentialism, very simular to that of the chaos vs. symmetry theory were also clearly at work throughout the exhibition. Chattel slavery was clearly an injustice served against our Jamaican people in the context of our connection to Africa, the Black Diaspora, to Black people and to humanity in general. In this context, existentially, our ancestors have already bourn enough pain, suffering and anguish in our honour, this being a past purpose. If we refuse to view the world as being chaotic, there is always symmetry in the greater view of humanity. Every thing does in fact serve a purpose, one to learn from and add to our everyday rituals of "living good with people".

In locating ourselves in the present day and in an attempt to set a new paradigm, we need not necessarily re-live this pain and suffering. It is a much more suitable position to identify ourselves with the fact that those wounds have already been healed. We, the descendants, therefore are “Free” of these issues. The contemporary issues that our history continues to prove relevant are issues of identity, race, gender and the body.

It all came together in the new galleries of the Institute of Jamaica, 95-97 Water Lane (entrance at #10 East Street). This exhibition is part of the collaborative project Materialising Slavery: Art, Artefact Memory and Identity being put on by the Museums of History and Ethnography and the National Gallery of Jamaica.

I cannot possibly reflect to you what experiencing this installation of fine artists is like, please visit the site in person. All were and continue to be invited to play a significant part in this exhibition.

The exhibition closes in March 2008.

contributed by Tricia Gordon-Johnston