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Dawn Scott Award for Ja Biennial 2014

Published:Tuesday | December 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) has announced the creation of the Dawn Scott Memorial Award. It will be presented to one artist participating in the NGJ's Jamaica Biennial 2014 exhibition, which will be on public view from December 7 to March 15, 2015.

The award, which comes with US$500, is a private initiative sponsored by the New York-based, internationally known art critic and art historian Edward M. Gomez in memory and honour of his close friend and colleague, the late Jamaican artist Alison Dawn Scott (1951-2010).

Gomez will examine the artwork on view in the Jamaica Biennial 2014 and choose one work and its creator to honour. The award will be announced during the

biennial's main opening reception on Sunday, December 14, and Gomez will

personally present the award.

All the works of art on display in the Jamaica Biennial 2014 will automatically be considered for the award, therefore, participating artists will not have to apply separately to take part in the competition.

Gomez, who served in the cultural section of the Embassy of the United States in Kingston in the 1980s, has developed and maintained close personal and professional ties with Jamaica and its arts community. He has written and published numerous articles and essays about Jamaican artists and their works, including texts about the legendary Intuitives, which helped introduce their achievements to broad, international audiences.

In 2006, he delivered the opening remarks at the NGJ's Intuitives III exhibition and wrote an essay for its accompanying catalogue.

Establishing the award's criteria, Gomez says, "The Dawn Scott Memorial Award will recognise the creativity and originality of the work of one artist taking part in the Jamaica Biennial 2014. In keeping with the artistic and philosophical principles that

distinguished Dawn Scott's thinking, teaching, art-making and activism, in selecting a winner of the award, I will be looking for proficiency and innovation in the artist's handling of his or her materials, fresh ideas about the expressive power of art, and a sense of courage in the way the artist addresses his or her subject matter."

A Cultural Object

In her own work, Scott was known for her fine craftsmanship and draughtsmanship. Using the wax-resist batik process on fabric, she produced emblematic portraits and scenes of Jamaican rural and urban life. In 1985, Scott created one of Jamaican contemporary art's most impactful, mixed-media installation works, A Cultural Object, which the NGJ later acquired.

During the last, long phase of her career, Scott worked closely with the Kingston-based firm Kingston 10 Architects Ltd on a range of commercial and residential buildings for which she provided original, special-feature designs. Scott, who also worked as an educator, was an active participant in NGJ-sponsored exhibitions and regarded the museum as one of Jamaica's most precious public resources.

The new Dawn Scott Memorial Award is one of two awards attached to the Jamaica Biennial 2014, the other being the Aaron Matalon Award. The latter will be awarded to the artist who, in the view of the National Gallery's Exhibitions and Acquisitions Committees, has contributed the strongest entry to the biennial. That award will also be announced on December 14.