Same vein

Submitted byJeeraik009 onFri, 05/13/2011 - 15:06

The National Gallery of Jamaica has been busy this past month mounting two exhibitions of works donated to its permanent collection. On display in Kingston is the Guy McIntosh Donation while at the Civic Centre in Montego Bay in a space that many are already calling 'National Gallery West', visitors can view The John Pringle Collection a donation of paintings by the self-taught artist Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds. Both are stunning shows that demonstrate the broad spectrum of art in Jamaica ranging from its abstract expressionism that peaked in the 1980s and 90s with artists such as Milton George, Kofi Kayiga, and Milton Harley and Omari Ra to the grassroots expressions of “Kapo” the revival preacher whose art also enjoyed acclaim in the same era. Yet, despite their different schooling and social status and attempts in the past to label these artists as 'mainstream' versus 'intuitive', the works of these artists are not so far apart; they share an ability to channel emotion directly and potently. Works in these two important collections demonstrate the inherent links between naif art and modernism; the fluid relationship that also fired the imagination of Europe's avant garde nearly a century ago. Jamaica is lucky to have two such deep and rich veins of artistic expression running through its art history and the National Gallery of Jamaica is fortunate to have acquired work that can demonstrate those cultural currents so vividly.