National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston

The National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) is the oldest and largest public art museum in the English-speaking Caribbean, established in 1974. It was borne out of a need to showcase the excellent talent and beauty of the Jamaican art scene, sending a powerful message to the ex-colonial powers that we too are capable of creating technically sound masterpieces to uniquely depict the Jamaican story. This gallery bears a comprehensive collection of early, modern and contemporary local art alongside smaller Caribbean and international holdings, with a significant part of its collections on permanent display. There are also frequent temporary exhibitions– the most recent of which was John Dunkley’s ‘Neither Day nor Night’ which ended on July 29.

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Liguanea Art Festival, Saint Andrew

Aptly called the artbeat of Jamaica, the annual Liguanea Art Festival (LAF) is the Caribbean’s largest. This festival showcases upcoming talent alongside local veterans in photography, painting, ceramics, jewellery and sculpture since its 2005 inception. Hosted by June and Tony Wong, a Jamaican couple which shares a passion for the arts, LAF has evolved into a household name with 2017 being its biggest yet. This year featured more than 110 artists, some of whom are widely celebrated and have traversed the Jamaican and international art landscape.

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The Spirit of Budo: Japanese Exhibition in Kingston

The Spirit of Budo is a traveling Japanese martial arts exhibition, put on by the Japan Foundation. It has been shown in 36 countries globally: from Morocco, France, Germany and Brazil, to name a few. I’m happy to see it reach Jamaican shores, the second Caribbean island in which it has been showcased since its debut by the foundation a decade ago. I don’t know much about Japanese or Asian culture really, but I welcome learning of other cultures, especially when that country takes the time, effort and money to carry expensive authentic relics and replicas to a museum near me. It is on display in Kingston from January 10 to March 18, 2017 at the National Museum of Jamaica (NMJ). Do pay a visit if you can.

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