Young Talent V is a high energy exhibition featuring 14 of Jamaica's most promising artists. It's the latest in a series of exhibitions presented irregularly at the National Gallery of Jamaica over the past 25 years. I took part in the first Young Talent 1 back in 1985 and I have viewed the mixed fortunes of each show and our younger artists as they haltingly challenged past presentations and tried to relate modernist approaches to local subject matter. In 1985, we felt ourselves ambitious to be working on large scale canvases that were displayed in diptych and triptych formats in a manner we considered innovative and professional. But that show for all its promise flagged a disconnect between art, idealism and Jamaica's political realities: a tension that would shadow contemporary art practice even as it tried to straddle local and global issues. Now each artist is afforded generous gallery space as they work through their ideas in multimedia including design, installation, video, fashion and photography. This time around, Young Talent V offers stunning, sophisticated and superlative work that addresses contemporary issues related to history and identity, gender and sexuality, violence and social issues in ways that harness contemporary vernaculars. Its artists and curators deserve high praise for mounting a show that after a hiatus as a result of internal squabbling, commercialism and funding difficulties seems set to put Jamaican art back on the international art map. This is a must see show including artists Marvin Bartley, Keisha Castello, Stephen Clarke, Michael Elliot, Christopher Harris, Marlon James, Leasho Johnson, Meghan McKain, Oliver Myrie, Ebony G. Patterson, Oneika Russell, Sand, Caroline 'bops' Sardine and Phillip Thomas
It's no surprise that a handful of these artists are already gaining attention abroad, Phillip Thomas's dramatically staged Old World paintings such as Carousel (2009), Oneika Russell's poignant videos that collage historical and contemporary themes like Drift (2010), Carolyn 'bops' Sardines cluttered boxes have all enjoyed success elsewhere. And, undoubtedly the star in this regard is Ebony G. Patterson whose gilt edged multimedia works have prestige gallery representation in the U.S. The expansive display of Ebony's powerful Gully Godz portraits and her remixed cultural object of a gutted and 'blinged out' Fiat motor car creates a buzz that is rare in local exhibitions today. The stunning reality and beauty of these works tells us that finally our artists are bringing the outside in, and turning us inside out. View Gallery.