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An unlikely site

Published:Sunday | April 29, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Norman Manley International Airport hosts art exhibition

Davina Henry, Staff Reporter

The opening of Tonalities on the Runway took place at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) last Wednesday afternoon.

The first exhibit of its kind to be held at the airport was met with a little resistance after patrons had to remove their shoes and other personal items to go through the baggage scanner.

Nonetheless, patrons made their way through the airport and into the departure lounge where the exhibit was being housed.

The event was put on by Maxine Daley, a final-year student at the Edna Manley School of Art.

Daley said she decided to call the event 'Tonalities on the Runway' because the word 'tonalities' means colour scheme of a painting, and the runway represents the airplane runway.

"Now we can find a way of exhibiting our Jamaican artists in the airport, showcasing their talent and also making it known that the airport is not just a place for travel, it can also educate and entertain," Daley told The Sunday Gleaner.

The event, which was also part of Jamaica's 50th anniversary, provided an opportunity for travellers to take a tangible part of Jamaica with them.

Alfred McDonald, senior director of commercial development and planning at NMIA, said he was pleased to be a part of the showcase of fine art at Jamaica's uniquely Jamaican airport.

"When we were approached about this exhibit, we embraced it heartily. Think about it, Edna Manley College, Norman Manley Airport, we had to embrace it," he said.

The event showcased pieces of work from three artists: Nakazzi Hutchinson, Vilya Thomas and Lennox Coke.

Vilya Thomas, a potter, who has pieces on display called 'Tamed Torso', 'Textured Blue' and 'Pandora's Box', says that pieces of her exhibits were made out of earthenware clay.

"I love garden imagery, so in my work you will find some aspect of garden imagery in it. You will find leaves, figs, replicas of different things. You will also find my signature heliconia in my pieces," she told The Sunday Gleaner.

Hutchinson, who has exhibited extensively across the Caribbean and the United States, said she was very happy with with exhibits.

"Some of the work was actually designed for this exact same space, so it's a real culmination of that effort to get the pieces finally in the space and to see how they would look. It opens up the opportunity to do more of this kind of thing, so I'm very happy about it," she said.

In similar fashion, artist Lennox Coke says he was also happy to be a part of Tonalities on the Runway.

"When I was told about the exhibition, I quickly became interested in it because I do a lot of Jamaican scenes that capture the essence of our people, so I was glad to be a part of this exhibition," he said.

Although patrons seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the exhibition, one person remarked that they wanted to see more exhibits that captured Jamaica's landscape and it's people.

"NMIA is delighted to host this very special art exhibition. It fits very nicely with the theme of the airport being the uniquely Jamaican airport. We therefore embrace the exhibition, we in fact want to see much more of the Jamaican-type expressions throughout the airport and hence we are on a programme to get this type of Jamaican feel and look throughout the airport terminal. Great things are ahead and this is just one such expression of these great things," said McDonald.