The National Biennial exhibition now showing at the National Gallery of Jamaica is a blockbuster, featuring eighty artists and over one hundred and fifty works in various media. As always the show is topical and a useful gauge for the state of fine arts and how artists are thinking now. It is a show that combines both juried and invited artists that gives the viewer a good sense of which artists are enjoying success or perhaps more importantly, successfully engaged in the creative process. With prize money attached to the winning of the Aaron Matalon Award, the show can also be competitive, pitting younger talents such as Ebony Patterson with her Christ and Co. (Gonzales Christ Revised and Extended) or Philip Thomas and Carousel against the work of older hands. After the dynamic and popular Young Talent show earlier this year, it seemed likely that the prize might go to an emerging artist but a strong showing from others such Tina Spiro Aurora Xaymaca (To Kapo With Love), Petrona Morrison Jamaica 2010 and Omari Ra From the “If We Must Die” Series We Get No Love in the Time of Cholera meant that these established artists could not be dismissed. In the end, the prize went to Laura Facey for Plumb Line an assemblage constructed from cedar, steel cable, and lignum vitae that, with the artists characteristic minimalism, seemed to cut through all of the surface noise of other works. Against the background of ocean waves, Hindu chanting and Rastafari drumming, the viewer is asked to reflect on nature's ability to subvert our daily interest in death, dons, and even environmental issues. It is a beautiful, profound work that speaks to eternal truths and even hope. Happy New Year!