Subtle diplomacy

Submitted byJeeraik009 onFri, 09/23/2011 - 11:40


Courtney Hogarth's Black Earth exhibition at the Olympia Gallery in Kingston is timely coming when relations between Jamaica and China are strengthening and when cultural alliances will help to configure the geo-political shape of our future world. It's unlikely that this artist could have envisaged the extent of China's economic growth or the waning of US and European markets when he embarked on his scholarship to study at China's Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing nearly a decade ago. Now, with a Ph.D in Classical Chinese Painting and Philosophy, and with China on the rise, Hogarth's art can foster relations between our two countries. But for all its cultural posturing, Black Earth is a very intimate exhibition, featuring artworks such as Feelings (2005) pictured here that seem more personal than propaganda. Intimate self-portraits, and abstract watercolour paintings demonstrate the artist's skillful brushwork, while the quality of his paper and beautifully mounted works on silk, subtly nod to his Asian influences and the softly-softly approach China is taking to establish its presence in our hemisphere.