Sat | Jan 19, 2019

St Mary-based artist exhibits at Kingston show

Published:Thursday | June 25, 2015 | 12:00 AMOrantes Moore


more than a year ago, popular St Mary-based visual artist Jasazii McKenzie was forced to cancel her first solo exhibition after slipping on the veranda at home and crushing her hip and thigh bone.

The tumble led to a hip replacement and temporarily prevented the self-proclaimed 'earth healer' from working, but, following a speedy recovery, last week McKenzie announced plans to launch a new debut show at the urban art festival, Kingston on the Edge (KOTE), later this month.

She told Rural Xpress: "I was supposed to have my first solo opening in April 2014 at the Harmony Hall art gallery in St Mary, but I had an accident and had to cancel in March. I broke my femur and now I'm the 'Bionic Woman' because I also had a $1-million hip replacement (laughs).

"Now, my debut will be under the umbrella of the KOTE festival, which features work from around 300 visual and performing artists, musicians, poets and dancers across 30 different venues in the capital."

McKenzie launched her debut on Monday at the offices of Dr Peter-Heinz Becker (123 Constant Spring Road) and describes the collection, which will be on display from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Saturday, as playful and passionate with primordial inspirations.

fun in art

She explains: "The name of my collection is 'Remembering Ancientcy' because my sculptures and paintings often remind viewers of people they have known before. A lot of my characters are ancient beings.

"I like to plug into a person's eternal vibrational frequency and feel who they really are, not who they want to appear to be. I have a gift for seeing the best in people, which can also be a curse sometimes, because I expect the best, but don't always get it (laughs).

"There is fun in all my art. Whether it's a painting, sculpture or an assemblage of materials, I'm often making humourous statements about human nature and our little ways and foibles.

"I think when people come to the exhibition, they'll see work from a slightly different type of artist. I find beauty in every little thing; pieces of wood, shell, stone and bone. I see stories and the magic in everything the Most High creates."

McKenzie believes Jamaica is home to some of the world's best visual artists and praises the KOTE organisers for helping to sustain the local scene. She said: "The art community has been suffering for almost two decades with galleries closing, but none opening.

"We have a lot of really fabulous artists here, but, unfortunately, the art scene is not nearly as dynamic as it used to be. It's quite difficult and expensive to bring in materials and supplies, and many of our best artists are going abroad.

"But art is the thing that keeps us alive, so the artists who don't want to leave Jamaica to make a living just have to keep it going some way or another. I feel I have some things people might find interesting and hope I'm injecting some positive energy into the scene."