THE EDITOR, Sir:
We were disappointed to read Professor Carolyn Cooper's column of Sunday, September 29, 2013 in which several claims were made regarding the National Gallery of Jamaica's exhibitions programme.
The public will recall that the National Gallery last year showed the 100 best entries in the inaugural International Reggae Poster Contest, and this was not done "grudgingly", as Professor Cooper claims, but supported wholeheartedly once we had established a mutually convenient time with the organisers.
The 2012 Reggae Poster exhibition at the National Gallery was widely reported on in the local and international media and was very popular with our visitors. It was generally considered to be a resounding success and we continue to sell reproductions of the top five posters from that competition, in our gift shop.
As the organisers of the contest can attest, we had been in communication with founder Michael Thompson and were fully supportive from the moment the Reggae Poster competition was in its early planning stages, more than a year before the inaugural competition was launched.
We have maintained a positive working relationship with the organisers since then and intend to continue collaborating with them in the future.
We have not, as Professor Cooper claims, declined to show the 2013 Reggae Poster Competition, nor were we specifically asked to do so. Instead, we have offered the organisers the option of exhibiting the best of the competition every two years, possibly as a special section of our own Biennial exhibition, the next edition of which will be held in 2014. We look forward to exploring these future possibilities with the organisers.
Professor Cooper also made general claims that the National Gallery is not receptive to contemporary popular culture. We must conclude that she had, at the time of writing her column, not yet seen our current 'New Roots: 10 Emerging Artists' exhibition, which illustrates quite the opposite.
This exhibition, which was originally scheduled to close on September 30, has been extended until November 2, because of the positive audience responses, and we invite members of the public who have not already done so to view this exciting exhibition and to judge for themselves.
We also invite Professor Cooper to take note of our programming for our increasingly popular Last Sundays events, which have recently included performances by Kat CHR, DJ Pelps, DJ Afifa, and Shady Squad.
VEERLE POUPEYE (PhD)
National Gallery of Jamaica