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National Gallery of Jamaica West Presents Xaymaca

Colin Garland's In the Beautiful Caribbean in the Xaymaca exhibition NGJ West

The National Gallery of Jamaica are invoking Jamaica’s original name Xaymaca (land of wood and water) for new exhibition headed for National Gallery West, the NGJ’s outpost in Montego Bay. Dubbed Xaymaca: Nature and the Landscape in Jamaican Art the exhibition will feature major works from the NGJ collection.

An exhibition on the Jamaican landscape certainly comes at an important moment in the country’s history, when many fear that we are fast become the land of not so much wood and polluted waters. The battle between environmentalists and the government over issues such as the creation of a hub at protected national reserve Goat Island  and the Roaring River Water Shed, both of which are slated for sale to Chinese interests, therefore makes an interesting backdrop to the exhibition.

According to a release from the NGJ, “[T]he Xaymaca exhibition celebrates the spectacular natural beauty of Jamaica, seen through the eyes of Jamaican and visiting artists from the colonial period to the present, but also acknowledges how nature and the land carry the baggage of history and contemporary politics.”

Xaymaca features four sections: the plantation era art, early 20th century photography, the nationalist school, and the post independence generation. The plantation era art will feature paintings and prints by George Robertson, J.B. Kidd, James Hakewill and John Eaves while the 20th century photography section will feature the works of A. Duperly and Sons, Herbert Hood-Daniel an Robin Farquharson. Works by Edna Manley, Albert Huie and Ralph Campbell will be featured in the nationalist school while the works of Barrington Watson, Eugene Hyde, Colin Garland, Michael Lester, Mallica ‘Kapo’ Reynolds, Everald Brown, Hope Brooks and Laura Facey. 

Xaymaca is curate by Dr. Veerle Poupeye, Executive Director of the National Gallery and O’neil Lawrence, Senior Curator. Funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Xaymaca opens on Friday May 8 at 7pm and will continue through to August 8, 2015. National Gallery of Jamaica West is located at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay, Jamaica