Thursday, 23 October 2014

GETTING HER DUE: Artist Laura Facey Cooper on her national honour and what's next

SUPPORTING ROLES: The artist and her boys — husband Gordon and sons Lee and Sam — at King's House.

When Laura Facey Cooper agreed to mount an exhibition of her most recent work in London this past September, she didn't know what to expect. But so successful was the show that it inspired an unprecedented creative move on her part. "The show was simply amazing, and it was so well received that it sparked the making of my my first i-art book, which is a digital publication of my work," reveals the award-winning Facey Cooper, famous for her stunning carvings in wood. Titled Radiant Earth, the digital publication recently went on sale and more or less confirms the artist's commitment to taking her career in fascinating new directions. Can the proper recognition be far behind?

Given the incredible spirit of excellence that has always defined Facey Cooper's work, it was only a matter of time before the noted sculptor (whose most well-known pieces include Emancipation Park's Redemption Song) was conferred with one of those prestigious national honours handed out every Heroes' Day. In fact, as we speak she has only moments ago made her exit from the podium at King's House, where she was among an impressive number of arts-community stars honoured by Sir Patrick Allen with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class).

For Facey Cooper, one of the very few women visual artists to be so recognized by the country, the moment represented an unqualified endorsement of her life's work. "It really is a validation of what I've done, but I feel like I have so much more to give," she confesses, standing alongside her husband Gordon and adult sons, Lee and Sam. "This gives me the encouragement to go on."

And by that she means reprising her participation in the National Gallery of Jamaica's upcoming Jamaica Biennial blockbuster exhibition, the all-important showcase set for December, which traditionally features cream-of-the-crop contemporary talents this year's cohort expanded to include several overseas participants. And what's next for Laura Facey Cooper could also mean a minor detour into filmmaking. "I'm possibly going to do a documentary," she tells TALLAWAH, beaming, "which is about the transformation that has happened to me and what I'd like to share in the hope that it will inspire others." 

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