Wed | Sep 19, 2018

George Rodney, Norma Harrack honoured

Published:Sunday | May 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
The Arts Foundation of the Edna Manley College 2018 honourees George Rodney (third right) and Norma Rodney-Harrack, (second right) with (from left) Marcia Erskine, Lynda Mair, Barbara Alexander and Eva Lewis at inaugural presentation of “The Arts Foundation Awards” on April 22.

Artist George Rodney and ceramicist Norma Rodney-Harrack were recently honoured by The Arts Foundation of the Edna Manley College (AFEMC) for excellence in their individual genres.

The foundation, on April 22, 2018, at the National Gallery, presented the inaugural The Arts Foundation Awards to the two artists.

Barbara Alexander, chairman of the foundation, said that "there is little doubt that a strong vibrant arts community plays an important role in nation-building, and the Arts Foundation of the Edna Manley College feels privileged that these two gifted artists consented to be our first honorees".

Alexander noted that the foundation, a charity established in 2012, has a mandate "to promote the development of the arts in Jamaica by providing financial assistance to the talented students of the Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts (EMCVPA) and to the college itself for the ongoing development of a world-class curriculum as well as much-needed infrastructure support".

A citation read by The Arts Foundation Board Director Lynda Mair hailed Norma Rodney-Harrack as one of Jamaica's most gifted ceramicists, "acclaimed as one of the 300 most famous potters in the world by the Chinese Ceramic Authority in Beijing, China".

She said: "Norma Rodney-Harrack has always believed that she has an obligation to give back to the society, which has allowed her to earn her living from following her passion. She has lectured in ceramics at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts since 1977 and has volunteered with the Mustard Seed Communities as a consultant for their Community Ceramics Project; with Things Jamaican Limited as a consultant in ceramic design; with the Human Employment Agency and Resource Training (HEART Trust); with the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training to develop competency standards in the art and craft production sector; with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission as an adjudicator; and with the National Gallery of Jamaica as a board member. She continues to hone her skills and is a co-founder and member of the Jamaican Potters Association, the American Craft Council, and the International Academy of Ceramics."

Reading the citation to George Rodney, communications consultant, Marcia Erskine said that "the work of this master of semi-abstract painting is so distinctive that one need not look for the signature to proclaim, 'That's a Rodney'".

She said that Rodney, "with the skilful strokes of an intelligent brush, has perfected the art of organising shapes with the precision of a mathematical proposition and a sharp oeuvre of nature and reality. His pieces, which take pride of place in some of Jamaica's largest and most iconic corporate headquarters and offices and in homes here and abroad, are as much an allusion as an illusion, referencing this beautiful island in an oblique and painterly way. He has found time to tutor others and has given back to his country helping to mould another generation of artists at the EMCVPA".

In her closing remarks, board member Eva Lewis noted that the brunch, which was sponsored by Mayberry Investments, JN Group, and Citi, will provide scholarships to EMCVPA.

Sunday's brunch showcased the college, its students and staff, and featured First year Bachelor of Music Education student Zoe Brown on flute accompanied on piano by Roger Williams, dean, School of Music, as well as a playlist of music composed and performed by EMCVPA faculty.