Limiting the biennial to the first floor of the National Gallery was a lost opportunity to position artworks in response to the country’s social vibrations.
A group of artists are reinforcing the undeniable cultural value of dancehall in Jamaican culture.
The artist Judy Ann MacMillan examines changes in her understanding of herself, the world, and painting against the backdrop of Jamaica’s challenging emergence as a modern, independent nation.
Khalik Allah’s Black Mother looks at maternity as a symbol, using it to understand various subjects in Jamaica.
This year’s biennial was a mash-up of claims and interests that played out in four exhibitions grouped under one umbrella.
“Jamaica, no problem!” a local adage advises, serving as a reminder that, here, life unfolds, and big events like biennial art exhibitions materialize according to their own rhythms and in their own good time.
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Not too long ago, Jamaica’s tourism-promotion board hired some advertising wizards to cook up a clever slogan to help sell the island’s sunny, Caribbean charms to vacationers from North America. They came up with “We’re more than a beach. We’re a country.”
Washington, DC — “Dub poet Mutabaruka found it necessary to argue, in a public contribution on the subject, that the statue [Emancipation Monument], which represents a woman and a man, both nude standing in a pool of water and looking upward as a symbolic representation of the spiritual emancipation from Slavery, was ‘gay’ because the male figure did not respond sexually to the presence of the naked female figure.” explains Veerle Poupeye, Director of the National Gallery of Jamaica.
In Kingston, Jamaica, making artwork that explores LGBT-related issues is becoming increasingly more accepted, however it still has the potential to be life threatening.