Great turnout at Liguanea Art Festival
Robyn Miller, Art & Education Writer
Not even the gloomy forecast by the International Monetary Fund for Jamaica's ailing economy or the threat of afternoon showers could stop the crowds from descending on the Liguanea Art Festival on Hope Road in St Andrew last Sunday, getting a taste of the creations of the nearly 100 artists displaying their wares.
In its 10th year, the well-organised festival was as much a family outing as it was a day for the artists to capitalise on sales and form important alliances. And they woud have been all too happy to see a steady stream of persons still entering the venue up to late in the evening.
Many patrons, like Andrene Davidson and daughter, seven-year-old Kelsey, have been making it to the show for the past few years.
"I like painting and making things,"young Kelsey told The Sunday Gleaner. "I'm painting a flower and butterfly,"the budding artist said from her easel in the kiddies zone where paint and other art material had been provided free of cost by the organisers for the youngster to explore her creative side.
Eugene Campbell says an event like the Liguanea Art Festival "exposes you". That's how he said he "got many relationships started with corporate clients", a number of whom, he says, are still on board.
The self-taught artist, whose primary medium is oil on canvas, captures market scenes and other aspects of Jamaican life which he does over several weeks, while his smaller paintings take a mere two days.
Other artists said sales were looking good and expressed delight at the large turnout compared to last year, in light of the contracting economy. Some even appeared to be doing brisk business, tying up deals some shoppers found hard to resist.
"Two are $10,000; this by itself is $6,000, bartered photographer Franz Marzouca with a buyer who expressed interest in a piece sitting among his 'Canoe Nude' series black-and-white prints.
Known for its high-calibre line-up, the Liguanea Art Festival is a kaleidoscope of painters, sculptors, ceramicists, potters, photographers, jewellers - self-taught and trained - showcasing the very best of the art forms and reinforcing the strength of the country's craftsmanship.
A buzz of activities surrounded some of the usual heavyweights including a few young and up-and-coming artists.
Jeffrey Perry had fascinated patrons glued to his tent while he did on-the-spot sketches in 20 minutes. Not far away, multi-award-winning photographer and artist Howard Moo Young created a stir with his Manatt/Dudus sketches including one that evoked much laughter of the former Tivoli don dressed as a church-going woman.
The ever-improving Solomon Sinclair pulled out all the stops to mount an impressive showing as did photographers Nicole Brown, and newcomer Olivia Miller whose 'Red Rocks' drew attention.
Fresh from a successful exhibition in Washington DC, Nakazzi added drama with her colourful array of masks.
Entertainment for the event held at the Lane Plaza parking lot and which attracted a bevy of sponsors, was provided by several cultural groups including ceramicist and potter Phillip Supersad's Aguaba Drummers. Weston Haughton did emcee duties.