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Jamaican Pulse: Art and Politics from Jamaica and the Diaspora

Group show at Royal West of England Academy. 2016
Date: 25 June, 2016 until 11 September, 2016
Curator: Kat Anderson and Graeme Mortimer Evelyn
Organiser: Royal West of England Academy

Jamaican Pulse: Art and Politics From Jamaica and the Diaspora was a major exhibition held at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, 25 June - 11 September 2016. The exhibition was co-curated on behalf of the RWA by Kat Anderson and Graeme Mortimer Evelyn and was delivered in partnership with the Jamaican High Commission. It was supported by Arts Council England and the Art Fund. 

From the catalogue introduction: “Jamaica represents one of the world’s most prominent heartbeats. Its arts, culture and music have been internationally celebrated, producing some of the world’s most enduring sub-cultures far away from their Kingston origins. In this publication and the exhibition it accompanies, we offer new audiences an introduction to the early artistic and political arousal that has created the platform from which contemporary artists now explore this cultural barometer - the ‘Jamaican Pulse’.

From the roots of modern Jamaican art to a host of contemporary Jamaican and diasporic artists working today on the international stage, ‘Jamaican Pulse: Art and Politics From Jamaica and the Diaspora’ brings together the first major showcase of work Jamaican and Jamaican diaspora artists in the UK this century. This timely exhibition, produced in partnership with the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) - Bristol’s oldest art gallery - includes the work of over twenty contemporary visual artists from Jamaica, America and the UK, spanning multiple disciplines including painting, sculpture, photography, textiles and moving image.

The artists selected represent Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora, with many of them currently residing in North America and the UK. at the time of the project’s inception, we had noted that whilst the UK had seen a resurgent interest in art of non-English-speaking Caribbean and African nations, there had been an extended hiatus regarding Jamaican art history in UK art institutions. Whilst some of the artists have received major attention elsewhere internationally, their exposure within the UK has been lacking.”

The exhibition featured the work of some 18 historical artists of Jamaica work from the early to mid 20th century onwards), and some 23 contemporary artists from Jamaica and its diaspora. Referencing the bringing together of older generations of artists, including those regarded as ‘intuitive’, the curators wrote, “These influential artists from throughout twentieth-century Jamaican art history are joined by work from perhaps more familiar names within contemporary art, such as Barbara Walker, Laura Facey, Hurvin Anderson, and Graeme Mortimer Evelyn, who each reflect on legacies within the highly diverse Jamaican experience in different ways. This includes Walker’s monumental portrayal of Jamaican diaspora youth culture in urban Birmingham; Facey’s lament to Jamaica’s historic collective  trauma; Anderson’s depictions of security grilles imposed onto a modern Jamaican landscape, displaying an ornate flair that is characteristically ‘Jamaican’; and Evelyn’s rendering of the island motto as the eternal struggle within oneself and within one’s nation.”

Related items

click to show details of Jamaican Pulse catalogue

»  Jamaican Pulse catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2016

People in this exhibition + view all 22

»  Edna Manley

Born, 1900 in Yorkshire, England. Died, 1987

»  David Miller, Jr.

Born, 1903 in Kingston, Jamaica. Died, 1977

»  Kapo (Mallica Reynolds)

Born, 1911 in St. Catherine, Jamaica. Died, 1989

»  Barbara Walker MBE

Born, 1964 in Birmingham

»  Osmond Watson

Born, 1934 in Kingston, Jamaica. Died, 2005

Exhibition venues

»  Royal West of England Academy

Bristol, United Kingdom