Jamaican creatives honoured
“The Arts Foundation has seen the need to intervene to assist students of the college who have financial challenges – students whose parents and caregivers have withdrawn their support and nurture as a result of their children’s choice of a career in the arts or parents who, because of their economic situation, are simply unable to help. The students at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) are talented and well trained. They love what they do, and they do it extremely well,” said Barbara Alexander, chair of the Arts Foundation of the EMCVPA. Alexander was speaking at the Arts Foundation’s Champagne Brunch last Sunday at the National Art Gallery in downtown Kingston, which was a fund-raiser to support scholarships for needy students and honour outstanding artists in various genres.
The inaugural brunch in 2018 funded tuition for three gifted students of the college. The foundation also used the occasion to honours Jamaican poets Professors Mervyn Morris and Edward ‘Eddie’ Baugh, and fine artist Laura Facey.
Facey was hailed for her body of work in a citation read by The Arts Foundation director and attorney-at-law Lynda Mair. Quoting former curator of the National Gallery, the late Petrine Archer, Mair read: “Looking at Laura Facey’s work is always a beautiful experience. Her bodies, whether mutilated and mangled or whole, are perfectly formed and pristine in their presentation.
She brings to her exploration of pain a truth to form, and a personal poetry that makes each piece exquisite. Her tendency to minimalism means that she only gives the viewer what is essential, and the gesture of the body, in all its sadness or wholesomeness, speaks silently and powerfully.”
St Lucia-born Caribbean laureate Dr Adrian Augier, special guest of the foundation, read the citations for Professors Baugh and Morris.
Baugh was hailed for “an exemplary career as inspiring teacher and intellectual mentor whose generosity and rigorous expectations have shaped several generations of Caribbean scholars. His books, essays and lectures, have made an enormous contribution to a vibrant school of criticism, in which lively and serious considerations are given to writing inspired by the unique historical circumstances and cultural life of these Caribbean islands.”
Of Professor Morris, Augier said, “The poetry of Mervyn Morris is universal, tight, often terse, never mundane, exhibiting an economy of words which focuses its power and can leave the reader simultaneously wounded and full of wonderment. Not surprisingly, therefore, he has been described as ‘a supreme poet of the everyday” with the potency of the familiar, with its safety and its limitations, its disappointments and consolations.’
Preceding the citations, written by Lynda Mair, Augier read short pieces from the works of Baugh and Morris, delighting the audience out to celebrate Jamaica’s outstanding artists.