A second edition of Jamaican Art has just been released by LMH Publishing here in Kingston. Being a contributor has given me insight into the history of its production as well as its usefulness and flaws. First published in 1990, it was initially intended as an instructive coffee-table publication. It was heavily illustrated, offering up to three images per artist, and it boasted a text that surveyed Jamaican art's development over a span of sixty years. Because it was the first book of its type ever published on the subject of Jamaican Art it quickly became a research staple for students as well as collectors. Unfortunately, the initial print run was small and it very quickly disappeared from book shops.
This revised version has been a long time coming. With the new title Jamaican Art: Then and Now it documents art from an era of nationalism to the new millennium and adds three new chapters that feature contemporary artforms including, textiles, ceramics, photography, video, performance art and installations. Additionally, this edition has tried to accommodate those artists who did not make the cut twenty years ago but who have continued to exhibit successfully over the past two decades. It is still generously illustrated, although many of the pioneer artists have been reduced to one or two images to allow for the work of younger talent. With a bolder more modern typeface, a striking cover and updated biographies, this is a useful text for anyone interested in the subject. Although those who have the first edition may not consider its revisions substantive enough, it is certainly a must-buy for those who missed it the first time around.