THE LIFE OF OBJECTS: Thomas-Girvan's "Dreaming Backwards." Inset: the artist. Below, her daughter poses with the award.
Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, acclaimed sculptor and jeweller, is the 2012 winner of the prestigious Aaron Matalon Award, presented every two years to the artist whose work is considered to have made the most significant contribution to the National Biennial, and comprises a cash award of J$100,000.00 and a plaque. The announcement was made this past Sunday at the National Gallery, Downtown Kingston.
Previous winners of the coveted prize include Norma Rodney-Harrack (2002), Omari S. Ra (2004), Renee Cox (2006), Phillip Thomas (2008) and Laura Facey (2010).
Thomas-Girvan, who currently lives and works in Trinidad, copped the award for her pair of stunning mixed-media sculpture entries – “Dreaming Backwards” (a 10-foot-long wall piece) and “Occupy (Alchemy of Promise)” – and was represented at Sunday’s presentation by her daughter, Alatashe Girvan, who received the award on her behalf.
“Over time my work has been expanding in scale,” Thomas-Girvan notes in a statement to the gallery. “[Dreaming Backwards] brings together many of the recurring themes in my work, referencing our collective history/memory, and is realized in materials which are environmentally relevant.”
Meantime, Dr. Veerle Poupeye, the gallery’s Executive Director, noted that voting by this year’s adjudicators almost resulted in a tie. Matter of fact, Thomas-Girvan and runner-up Ebony Patterson, who entered the captivating installation piece “The Observation (Bush Cockerel): A Fictitious History,” were separated by one point. Duane Allen received the third highest number of votes for his superb installation piece “Entrapment.”