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Stewart's Hardware brings great Jamaican art to Central Jamaica

Published:Sunday | December 23, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Artist Jason Hall, 21, stands proudly in front of his artwork.
From left: Chairman of Stewart's Hardware and Home Centre Limited, Baron Stewart; Kerinth Campbell, principal of Foga High School, Clarendon, and veteran artist Webster Campbell.
Veteran artist Fitz Mitchell (left) shows off his carving as chairman of Stewart's Hardware and Home Centre, Baron Stewart, looks on.

On Sunday, December 9, Stewart's Hardware Limited, with co-sponsor Berger Paints, hosted its art show dubbed 'Art Affair' at its Stewart's Hardware Home Centre, May Pen, Clarendon, branch.

Being hosted in its second consecutive year, at the same time, as the previous show, it has become a calendar event to look out for. Sunday's 'Art Affair' featured the works of renowned Jamaican Artists: Webster Campbell, Charlene Campbell, Donovan Gordon, Joshua Gordon, Andy Ballentine, Jeffrey Perry, Leopold Barnes, Novellette Barnes, Richard Atkinson, Ray Jackson, Fitz Mitchell, and many other sculptors and creative minds. The art show began at 10 a.m. and ran until 5 p.m.

'Art Affair' was a day of art, music, and fun. The showcase highlighted the level of skill, depth of knowledge and creativity each artist brought to their craft. Patrons expressed their delight at seeing the historical representations of Jamaican architecture, food and culture in the items displayed. While these great pieces of work appealed to art collectors all over the island, Stewart's Hardware sought to widen its appeal and reach to surrounding communities. Stewart's Hardware reached out to surrounding school communities such as Glenmuir High, Spanish Town High, Vere Technical, Garvey Maceo High, and Denbigh High for support. Chairman of Stewart's Hardware, Baron Stewart, explained that "the community of May Pen needs and deserves this kind of arrangement and we are especially excited to get our young people on board. We are fully dedicated to our many outreach programmes in May Pen and its environs".

For budding artists Jason Hall and Dvane Cunningham, Art Affair proved to be the ideal platform to gain exposure for their work. Hall, who utilises warm tones of orange, red and green to depict male and female forms in various dance sequences, received praise for his eye-catching tribute to the Jamaica 50 anniversary celebrations with his piece 'Jamaica Fifty'. Despite their age, the Spanish Town High alums were no strangers to showcasing their talents, both having entered the JCDC competitions and placing in top categories.

"I believe art, whether it's drama, dance, painting or music is the softer side of learning. I think it's important for the students to realise that everyone learns differently and that each talent is equally important. My students have come a long way in their appreciation for the visual and creative arts and I must commend Stewart's Hardware for taking the initiative to get the schools involved", commented Kerinth Campbell, principal of Foga Road High School in Clarendon. "Having their work displayed here at the Art Affair is a good avenue to help students build their confidence; seeing their own artwork and (the) artwork of their friends on display, makes them feel proud of their creative abilities," she continued.

Source of valuable information

Junior Atkinson, art teacher and head of the art department at Garvey Maceo High, agreed with Campbell, noting the challenges he faced in getting his students to appreciate art as a multifaceted discipline.

He lamented the students' gravitation to certain aspects of visual art because of popularity and their lack of understanding that every aspect of the field has its own importance. Atkinson expressed his delight at the opportunity to expose his students to the different works on display at Sunday's event. He believes the students' direct contact with the veteran artists was a source of valuable information that helped to solidify his teachings on the discipline and encouraged them to keep an open mind.

Patrons were also encouraged to sample wines, beers and other beverages courtesy of Select Brands, J. Wray & Nephew, Red Stripe, Lascelles Wines, Caribbean Producers, and Grace Kennedy Ltd.

Stewart thanked the artists and patrons for their continued support. He also used the opportunity to start exposing the plans for Stewart's 40th Anniversary celebrations to begin next year.

Other sponsors of the event included National Commercial Bank, Sherwin Williams, Dunn's Electrical, Maxie's Department Store, Rototech, B-H Paints, and Light It Up International.

Contributed photos