The National Gallery of Jamaica was established in 1974 and is home to the most important collection of Jamaican art. If you visit the permanent collection as well as the temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, you will learn more about Jamaica´s most famous artists. Before 1974, the collection of art was at Devon House, a mansion built in 1881.
The NGJ offers a range of educational services. When I visited it there was a lecture going on. In the guide we can read: “ the NGJ is commited to…the principle of artistic freedom. To exhibit a work of art is not to endorse the work or the vision, ideas, and opinions of the artist. It is to uphold the right of all to express and experience diverse visions and views. We hope you will view the work in this institution with an open mind as an opportunity to learn, discuss and enjoy”
Isaac Mendes Belisario (1795-1849) was the first Jamaican-born artist. He was from a Sephardic Jewish family of Spanish or Portuguese origin. His work provides a rich document of life in Jamaica in colonial times.
I.M. Belisario, Cocoa Walk Estate (c1840), Collection: National Gallery of Jamaica
William Beckford (1760-1844), a member of one of the wealthiest families of Jamaican landowners and slaveholders (he also lived in Sintra, Portugal) became a patron of the British artist George Robertson (1724-1788) who painted many landscapes in Jamaica.
George Robertson, Jamaican landscape
The sculptures by Edna Manley (1900-1987) caught the spirit of Jamaican people (Negro aroused).Her work is regarded as a turning point in Jamaica´s visual arts. She also helped found and then taught at the Jamaica School of Art, which was later officially renamed as the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
David Pottinger (1911–2004) painted Jamaican traditions and popular scenes.
David Pottinger, Snapper Time (1970, Collection: NGJ)
Albert Huie (1920 –2010) was best known for his folkloric landscape paintings, which celebrated the Jamaican countryside and the people who worked the land.
Albert Huie, Crop Time (1955) Collection: NGJ)
The hotel we stayed in, Tower Isles (Ocho Rios), had beautiful murals. I was told they were "found" when the hotel was restored some years ago. They are in one of the restaurants and the painting had been covered in a previous restoration. The hotel opened in 1949.
In the lobby there are also very decorative paintings. Unfortunately I only photographed two because the others were always with many people around. They are from a Spanish artist, Orient Davila Issa, who lives in Jamaica.
A souvenir from the NGJ gift shop. It really matched my dress...