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Rebranded Jamaica Biennial 2014 opens December 7

Published:Sunday | November 30, 2014 | 11:00 AM

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) is pleased to announce the Jamaica Biennial 2014, which will open with a week of events from December 7 to 14, 2014, and continue for three months, until March 15, 2015.

The Jamaica Biennial 2014, which has been rebranded and expanded as part of the National Gallery's 40th anniversary programme, builds on the National Biennial exhibitions that were held at the gallery since 2002, and its predecessor, the Annual National exhibitions.

One major change is that the Biennial now includes an international component, with six special projects by international artists, namely: Renée Cox (Jamaica/United States), James Cooper (Bermuda), Blue Curry (Bahamas/United Kingdom), Gilles Elie-dit-Cosaque (Martinique), Richard Mark Rawlins (Trinidad), and Sheena Rose (Barbados). Another development is that the juried section was selected by two international judges, Diana Nawi, associate curator at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, and Sara Hermann, a curator and art historian from the Dominican Republic.

In all, the Jamaica Biennial 2014 consists of more than 120 works by 97 artists, including well-established artists as well as many young and emerging ones. "A wide range of artistic media and approaches is represented, from representational and abstract painting to video and performance art, with a particularly strong representation of digital photography and video art," informed Dr Veerle Poupeye, executive director, NGJ.

In another first, the Biennial will also be shown at more than one location - in addition to the National Gallery, parts of the exhibition will be shown at Devon House and at National Gallery West.

For Devon House, six interventions by artists whose work resonates with the history and context of Devon House were selected - Greg Bailey, Laura Facey, James Cooper, Ebony G. Patterson, Oneika Russell, and Cosmo Whyte - and their work will be integrated into the interior of the great house and, in the case of Facey, on the lawn. "Devon House was the National Gallery's original home when it opened in 1974, and the partnership on the 2014 Biennial, at the time of the gallery's 40th anniversary, is therefore particularly appropriate," Dr Poupeye said.

At National Gallery West, the National Gallery's new branch at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre on Sam Sharpe Square, there will be selections from a new body of photographic and video by Renée Cox titled 'Sacred Geometry'. One other project, by Blue Curry, will be shown in various locations on the streets of downtown Kingston. All other exhibits will be at the National Gallery of Jamaica.

During the opening week, from December 7 to 14, all exhibitions (National Gallery of Jamaica, Devon House and National Gallery West) will be open every day with extended opening hours until 6 p.m. For further details on opening hours and opening week events, please follow the National Gallery of Jamaica blog: nationalgalleryofjamaica.wordpress.com.

Key events for the opening week of the Jamaica Biennial 2014

  • Sunday, December 7: Soft opening of the exhibitions at the National Gallery of Jamaica, Devon House and National Gallery West; at the National Gallery of Jamaica, there will also be a screening of the film Zetwal (Twinkle) by the Martiniquan film director and artist Gilles Elie-dit-Cosaque, which will start at 1:30 p.m.
  • Friday, December 12: Opening reception at National Gallery West, Montego Bay, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 14: Main opening reception at the National Gallery of Jamaica, with formalities starting at 1:30 p.m.