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Brooks & Khouri Cop top prizes at JCDC Visual Arts Competition 2012

Hope Brooks accepts her prize of a cellular phone from LIME

Hope Brooks’ painting ‘Slavery Trilogy Sequel: Where Have We Come? Where Are We Going?’ copped the jury vote for the Most Outstanding Adult Artwork, while Luca Khouri (‘Clutched Light II’, photography) snagged the Promise Prize for the most outstanding youth artwork in the 2012 Jamaica Cultural Development Visual Arts Competition.

The prizes were announced as a part of the opening ceremony for the accompanying exhibition at the National Gallery of Jamaica, in downtown Kingston. The ceremony was hosted by Fae Ellington. The 2012 exhibition features 43 adult entrants and 97 youth entrants whose works were selected from hundreds of submissions. The exhibition will run at the national gallery through to August 11, 2012. The travelling showcase featuring selections from the exhibition will run from September through to December.

Aeron Cargill (left) and Dwight Larmont (right) share the Jamaica50 prizeIn keeping with the commemoration of Jamaica’s 50th year of independence, the 2012 competition also included a special Jamaica 50 prize. The adult prize was shared by Aeron Cargill for ‘Jonkunoo: Fire and Drum I-III’ (photography) and Dwight Larmond for ‘Election Jamboree’ (painting). The youth prize was won by Kamille Kirlew for ‘Tools of Yesteryear’ (photography).

Michael Parchment earned the second place prize for outstanding artwork by an adult for his painting ‘A Better Jamaica is Dawning’, while Berette Macaulay earned third place for ‘Waterfront Divers at Kingston’ (photography). Jamar Semour Allen (‘Mix Up and Blenda’, painting) and Jermaine Levene (‘Still Life Shoes’, works on paper) were awarded the second and third places for the Promise Prize.

The sectional prizes also included the Summit Prize awarded to the school or club with the largest number of jury selected entries. This award went to Jamaica National Resolution Project which had 27 jury selected entries from 21 entrants. The Jamaica National Resolution Project also earned the Top Teacher Prize.

Despite the over 800 entries submitted by over 458 artists, the judges lamented the quality of work being submitted to both the adult and youth categories. The judges’ comments in the adult category described the submissions as “disappointing” and arguing that they generally displayed a need for a greater infusion of creativity and imagination. The panel of judges also remarked that the entries submitted for the Jamaica 50 theme generally displayed “a lack of authenticity and innovation”.

The annual competition is this year marking its 49th year as a part of Jamaica's independence celebrations. The competition has been attempting to raise its profile especially amongst professional artists in the last several years. This year the prize purses received a significant increase with the winner in the adult category earning J$200,000.00 and J$100,000.00 in the youth category. Hopefully, this more substantial purse will attract the interest of a greater number of professionals and graduates from the School of Art and provide the increase in standards that the organizers and judges yearn for.