IN HIS IMAGE: Osmond Watson's famous 1969 work The Lawd Is My Shepherd is among the pieces on view.
As it turns out, all these compelling facets come together to create a nostalgic and evocative whole as Explorations II: Religion and Spirituality, a vast new exhibition currently on view (through April 28) inside the National Gallery. Comprised of over 100 works, the lavish display showcases arresting images and sculptures from a who's who of Jamaican art, among them the greats like Osmond Watson, Christopher Gonzalez, Kapo and Edna Manley, alongside more recent creative geniuses like Ebony Patterson.
Spanning multiple decades (with noted appearances by Namba Roy's 1958 gem Accompong Madonna and Petrona Morrison's Altar Piece I and II from 1992), the works consider various representations and evocations of spiritual life, while highlighting the sometimes performative nature of popular religion complete with dance and music.
Then there's the conflation between religious and political militancy, white colonial religious representations, and the myriad ways in which the practices of our African forebears have survived and have been integrated into Jamaican art and wider culture, especially in relation to modern identities, as evidenced by such timeless pieces as Gonzalez's Mystic Conception (1977) and Gloria Escoffery's 1987 triumph Mirage.