Fri | Jan 28, 2022

Dr David Boxer : A multifaceted curator, artist

Published:Sunday | June 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Dr David Boxer
Dr David Boxer
From left: David Boxer, then Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Veerle Poupeye and Minister of Information, Culture and Youth and Sports Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange view ‘Justice League’ by Natalie Barnes at the National Gallery of Jamaica in 2008.
David Boxer’s ‘Chorus of Souls — Postscript Studies — Diaspora’.

The Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) is greatly saddened by the passing of the highly esteemed and treasured Dr David Boxer, former chief curator emeritus of the National Gallery of Jamaica and himself an artist whose achievements are consistently innovative.

Before being hired as director/curator at the fledgling National Gallery in 1975, Dr Boxer served as guest curator for 'Ten Jamaican Sculptors', an exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute, London, and at Devon House, where the National Gallery was then located. He served the National Gallery for more than three decades, elevating it to enviable heights within the anglophone Caribbean.

Dr Boxer also served as jurist and on many committees and boards, including the Council of the Institute of Jamaica. His large body of publications include journal essays, book chapters and books covering artists as diverse as Karl Abrahams, John Dunkley, Edna Manley and Cecil Baugh. His narratives include Art in Five Centuries: Art in Jamaica Since the Discovery.

Dr Boxer's teaching experience included being a visiting fellow at the prestigious John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. Among his awards were the Gold Musgrave Medal and the Order of Jamaica, an upgrade from the previously bestowed Order of Jamaica Commander Class.

Through his keen intellect, artistic insight, nationalist resolve and appealing personality, David effectively built the important national collection of art and photography. He established an exhibition formula that has earned the gallery high regard and appreciation from international art lovers and collectors across the island.

A visionary curator, Dr Boxer championed the recognition of self-taught artists, arguing for their status as intuitive rather that primitive or naive, He amassed works of emerging artists and of modern and historic photographs, reasoning that the genre is an art form which should be widely collected. During his tenure, he also organised many exhibition, virtually all accompanied by a catalogue.

According IOJ Executive Director Vivian Crawford, "His accomplishments at the National Gallery are immense, while as an artist his prodigious output represents an individual whose creative impulses, intellectual rigour and philosophical awareness are immeasurable; Dr Boxer has left an enormous legacy."