There are so many artists in so many art fields, there are so many aspects that should be covered that we could hardly make a Short guide to the Jamaican Culture.
Jamaican art is inspired by the beautiful mountains, valleys, beaches, people, harmony, culture, traditions and history of this amazing country; here you will find an inspiration in everything that surrounds: in people’s walk, talk or hugs, in birds and animals, in the great Blue Mountain Peak, in the blue water of the Caribbean Sea, in Bob Marley’s music, or in a child’s rasta.
The Birth of Jamaican Art
The Jamaican ancestors, the Taino Indians, started to put the bases of the Jamaican artby creating the imposing zemis (statues of their gods). Made out of wood stone, cotton, coral, gold, or human bones they were used during the spiritual rituals as representations of divine forces on Earth. The zemi images were also imprinted on rocks, trees, and cave walls, and the Taino population believed that the zemis would bring victories in war, rich cultures, and safe babies at birth, but also would entitle their chief to political power.
Only a small part of the real zemis created by the native population of Jamaica can be visited at the Arawak Museum in St. Catherine. If you are a passionate of the ancient sites you should definitely see theRio Nuevo Taino Site. You will find there some really interesting stories of the Tainos’ life and Taino Indians contribution to the Jamaican modern art which is definitely a huge one.
The Modern Jamaican Art
The modern Jamaican art has European influences, especially British ones. These influences were captured by many artists in Britain mainly due to the scholarships offered by the British Council during the period 1950-1960. Ralph Campbell, Barrington Watson, Osmond Watson are only a few of the successful artists who have studied abroad, but all have returned to teach and guide the Jamaican students through their artistically life.
Nowadays artists like Edna Manley (sculptor and painter), Alvin Marriot (realist sculptor), Albert Huie (landscape painter), Cecil Baugh (master potter), Kapo (self-taught artist), E.Gonzalez (painter) are highly appreciated. However the Jamaican talent is extraordinary and the list can go on with many other names and examples.
The National Gallery of Jamaica brings together the creations of many Jamaican artists, telling the story of an amazingly glorious past. If you are into enjoying art galleries then you should definitely visit this vast variety of paintings, sculptures, based in Kingston. You can find it in 12 Ocean Blvd, Block C with the entrance from the Orange Street. It is closed on Sunday and Monday, but also on public holidays and the entrance fee is Ja$ 250 (approx 2 Euro, 3 USD, 1.7 GBP).
Other important art galleries are: Gallery of West Indian Art (Montego Bay), Harmony Hall (St.Mary), Ja-Ja Originals Art Gallery (Negril), and many others.
If you are truly passionate about art then start visiting and gathering information from the Short guide to the Jamaican Culture . Just come to Jamaica and feel the inspirational wave!