Tue | Mar 31, 2020

J'can Arts Odyssey 2018 set to engage patrons

Published:Friday | June 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Williams/Gleaner Writer
A scene from the panel discussion on 'Exploring links between Africa and Jamaica in the 21st century' held inside Africana House, Great Huts.

The structures, the furnishings, the fixtures, the accents, the decor and some utensils, almost everything at Great Huts Resorts Paradise on the Edge seems to loudly scream, art!

Visitors not only get the chance to experience the beach, the jungle, the meadow and the cliffs, but they are also thrust into the art of this island called Jamaica. The great major of the art at this Afrocentric, eco-friendly resort overlooking Boston Bay in Portland was created by Jamaica artists and artisans.

The essence of the laid-back ambiance is to showcase the creativity that abounds in the island, and to push and publicise Jamaican art. And every year, for the past seven, Great Huts has been embarking upon a Jamaican Arts Odyssey, one of its education and cultural programmes.

This year, the artful journey lasts from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24. The canvas unfolds in Kingston and stretches all the way to Portland, where the art is as rich as the lush vegetation, which has inspired the creative genius of some of its parishioners.

"The event promises to give all participants a full flavour of the working practices of Jamaican art and artists ... The public is invited to participate in a variety of interactive workshops led by acclaimed artists," Great Huts said.


Personal tribute


Today, it opens with a personal tribute to Gene Pearson, starting at 11 a.m. at the Grosvenor Art Gallery at 1 Grosvenor Terrace in St Andrew. Between noon and 1:30 p,m. 'mystical artist Nakazzi' will lead a discussion on Pearson's works and influence, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served. Renowned sculptor and ceramic artist Gene Pearson made the transition earlier this year.

The brush will start to the stroke at 10 a.m. on Saturday the 23rd, in the Lisa Rossini mural-painting workshop on the Yoga Deck. At 1 p.m., outside Africana House, Nakazzi, Marcia Henry, Philip Ambokele Henry and Lisa Hendricks will teach the art of mask-making until evening shadows come creeping by.

Co-hosted by Dr Paul Rhodes, owner and designer of Great Huts, and internationally acclaimed artist, Professor Bryan McFarlane, the inaugural Masquerade Cocktail Party will unmask itself in the Great Room of Africana House from 7:30 p.m., to 11 p.m. Professor McFarlane will also give a special presentation on 'Reclaiming Ancestral Roots: The Healing Powers of West African masks and Contemporary Arts'.

Steven Golding, executive chef at Cafe Africa, will be present to talk about authentic cuisines from Congo, Liberia and Ghana that he has developed for the Jamaican palate.

The slate of activities for Sunday, the 24th, include the Mask Paint and Sip Workshop by Bryan McFarlane, Drop-in Portraiture Workshop by Philip Ambokele Henry, Drop-in Calabash Workshop by Marcia Henry, and a lecture on 'Benin Bronzes' by Jim Clemmer and Dr Paul Rhodes. The day ends with the screening of a movie.

On Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m., to 5 p.m., on the Mandela Rooftop Deck, there will be an exhibition of Lyndon Douglas' View of Tilbury Docks. It is billed as "a powerful and evocative representation of the history and contemporary issues of the unresolved heritage of the Windrush Generation. Displayed here, facing out to the Caribbean Sea, while being firmly rooted back on Jamaican soil. A tribute to the invincible spirit and validity of human faith and endeavour."

Other artists leading the discussions and workshops, and showcasing their work, include Mazola Wa Mwashighadi, Savannah Baker, Philip Ambokele Henry, Marcia Henry, Michael Layne, Lyndon Douglas, Marguerite Gauron, Joavan Puran, Kione Grandison, Denva Harris, Stephanie Lue Yen, Mark Bell, Hopeton Cargill, Lisa Hendricks, Tunde Akinniranye, Christoff Hamilton and Vali Valenti. Shane Bell and emerging students from the Edna Manley College are expected to make their debut.

"There will be no admission fees for watching and participating in demonstrations, performance pieces and dynamic African drumming, and 20 per cent of sales and workshop donations will go towards the Portland Rehab Management (PRM) Homeless Shelter," said a representative from Great Huts.