Sun | Jan 17, 2021

Art in Megapixels

Published:Friday | April 29, 2016 | 12:00 AMAmitabh Sharma
A QR code (on the right) faces 'Neighbourhood Project' by Ewan Atkinson at 'Digital', National Gallery of Jamaica
Banana, an interpretation by James Cooper at 'Digital', National Gallery of Jamaica
Darron.gif by Rodell Warner, Arnaldo James and Darron Clarke at 'Digital', National Gallery of Jamaica
Photo installation by Versia Harris at 'Digital', National Gallery of Jamaica
Flying Parade, interactive digital installation by Henri Tauliaut at 'Digital', National Gallery of Jamaica
A video work by Gabriel Ramos 'Digital', National Gallery of Jamaica
Pablo Delano highlights Natives Bearing Burdens at 'Digital', National Gallery of Jamaica
Amitabh Sharma

A QR Code on the wall welcomes visitors, whip out your smartphone, scan, and voila! Transfer of information is initiated, not a web check-in this time around, though - it's art which goes beyond traditional media.

'Digital: Exploring creative expressions digital media' is the theme of latest exhibition at the National Gallery of Jamaica.

"Digital is our first submission-based exhibition to be open to artists from the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora," said Veerle Poupeye, executive director of National Gallery of Jamaica. "Digital media has been the fastest-growing field in contemporary visual art, and has been an area of major innovation and experimentation."

This exhibition explores, media that are a mix of contemporary with shades of tradition thrown into the mix - digital photography and illustration, video, animation, and GIFs, hologram projections, an interactive and even Skype conversation images - to name a few.

"This is consistent with our commitment to participating more actively in the global and regional cultural dialogues and exchanges that shape the contemporary Caribbean art world," said Poupeye.

She said the fact that digital media work can be transmitted electronically, and bypasses the cost and administrative challenges involved in international shipping, the works obtained are from a wide geographical area.

"Digital features the work of 37 individual artists and two artistic collaborations, selected from the 73 entries received," informed Monique Barnett-Davidson, assistant curator at National Gallery of Jamaica.

The objective of the installation is to explore the warmth of creativity in a cold, mundane, and oft predictable world of technology.

"This raises many questions about the changing nature of art, particularly its function as a vehicle for representation and interrogation of ideas and identities," said Poupeye.

Digital technologies have created myriad opportunities for individual and collective participation, with life being led individually and collectively on social media - who would have thought that Facebook is the most populated 'country' in the world, with 1.59 billion users and counting.

"People are producing and circulating digital photographs of themselves and other images that capture their interest, in what is now an instantaneous and global network of exchange," the director of National Gallery of Jamaica said. "This has significantly altered the traditional relationships between power, identity, and visual representation."

In essence, Digital, which is on until July 4, explores the interpretation of the world around us in megapixels, as life gets more High Definition, more surround-sound - art in this manifestation gives the 21st Century view of life.