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National Gallery of Jamaica Gets Dramatic

Tribe Sankofa performs 'Many Rivers to Cross'

Since embarking on a programme of monthly Sunday openings, the National Gallery of Jamaica has steadily presented a diverse schedule inviting performances from across the arts. For this month’s staging the gallery teamed up with the Jamaica Association of Dramatic Artists (JADA) for an afternoon dedicated to marking Black History Month and Reggae Month.

JADA presented a dramatic installation which drew on varied elements of theatre and also included music and dance. The piece was staged in the main gallery with most of the audience on the upper floors looking down.

The performances were introduced by president of JADA, Scarlett Beharie who noted that the presentation was intended to highlight themes relevant to both Black History and Reggae Month even while showcasing the synergies between the visual and performing arts. In doing so association pulled on the works of some of Jamaica’s greatest artists from art, music and drama.

Tribe Sankora, Oliver Mair, Ruth Hoshing, Scarlett Beharie and Hilary NicholsonHilary Nicholson delivered passages read from Edna Manley’s diary, a fitting element given the local. Her passages were woven between the other pieces. Ruth HoShing delivered an excerpt of the one-woman play Josephine’s Night Out while Oliver Mair played Trevor Rhone, reading from the late playwright’s autobiographical play Bella’s Gate Boy.

The collective Tribe Sankofa also delivered several pieces including from their Word Soul production, a blend of music, poetry and dance. Their performances included Fabian Thomas’ ‘2 Score and Ten’, Claude McKay’s ‘If We Must Die’, Bob Marley’s ‘Natural Mystic’ and Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Many Rivers to Cross’, which brought the show to a close.

Sunday’s programme also featured the customary free tours of existing exhibitions, in this case the National Biennial. The National Biennial closes on Sunday, March 10, 2013.