Saturday, 20 May 2017

WAYS OF SEEING: Stellar artworks bring intrigue, electric energy to 2017 Visual Arts showcase

FACE VALUE: Jermaine Morgan's "Untitled," the Jury Prize winner in this year's competition.

ST. Catherine-based painter Jermaine Morgan has won the Jury Prize in this year’s JCDC Visual Arts Competition & Exhibition, currently on view at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, until August. Morgan, whose eye-popping, hyper-chromatic work has graced exhibitions at the National Gallery and Kingston on the Edge (KOTE), copped the first-place award (and a gold medal) for his spell-binding piece “Untitled”, a powerful portrait of a young Jamaican man staring back at you from the canvas in lush brush strokes of red and green. 

The piece truly pulls in the viewer upon entering the lobby of the conference centre, is on sale for a reasonable $85,000. A companion piece to “Untitled,” Morgan’s “Beautifully Broken” copped a silver medal. 

Over 280 award-winning and original works (in youth and adult categories) make up this year’s electrically charged exhibition, whose pieces adorn the walls all over the sprawling conference centre and the upstairs-based gallery, where the youth entries can be found. It’s an endlessly fascinating showcase, chock-full of stunning photographs, sculptures, fibre arts, works on paper and paintings that deserve to be added to collections at home and abroad. 

Among the lot are several gold medal winners whose creators hail from parishes islandwide. While Kingston’s Patrick Planter (“Hand Mask”), Gianni Jahziel (“Brother Nature III”) and Michelle Lee Lambert (“Behind the Blue Door”) were recognized for their skilful photography, St. Catherine’s Dwane Bailey (“Road to Africa”), Trelawny’s Nicholas Rose (“Mother and Child”), Kingston’s Kitwana Robinson (“Portal of My Consciousness”) and Ranford Anderson (“Madiba”) won gold for their fine paintings and works on paper. 

Sixteen-year-old Sashoy Bewry, whose black-and-white drawings “Mother Dearest” and “Fruit of the Womb” also claimed gold, got the 1st Place Promise Prize for most outstanding youth entrant. Manchester High, whose students submitted some truly exquisite photographs, took the Summit Prize for Top School/Group. 

On the local arts calendar since 1963, the Jamaica Visual Arts Competition & Exhibition aims to showcase local talent and provide opportunities for artists to gain access to local and international audiences.

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