Caribbean Visual Artists Celebrate UWI 60th Anniversary

KINGSTON,Jamaica – The work of celebrated Caribbean ceramists and sculptors Gene Pearson, Norma Harrack and Philip Supersad, as well as paintings by Hope Brooks, Alexander Cooper, George Rodney and renowned artist, will go on auction on Wednesday July 16, 2008, as part of the University of the West Indies’ celebratory 60th Anniversary Gala.

The 60th Anniversary Gala and Silent Auction, which will be held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, will also feature pieces donated by the Hi-Qo Gallery, The Frame Centre, Wassi Art and from several private collections.

Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Nigel Harris expressed his delight at the news of the receipt of the gifts by the University, from the Caribbean artists and collectors. “To receive such valuable gifts from the artists themselves and also from the Wallace Campbell Collection, the Hardingham Collection and the personal collection of Dr. Brian Morgan, is, in itself, remarkable!” said Professor Harris.

“While we appreciate and recognize the financial value of the donations, members of the UWI community acknowledge that the real value to the University is the contributors’ selfless acts of giving, in support of this important Caribbean institution. For us at the UWI, the value of these acts of kindness matches or perhaps supercedes any proceeds derived from the Auction”, The Vice Chancellor said.

The UWI, which has over its 60 years of existence, continued its relentless support of practitioners of the visual and performing arts, features several murals and sculptures throughout its campuses. “This silent auction is an innovative form of fundraising. Even beyond that, the UWI recognizes that the appreciation of fine art is an important part of any education,” Said Mona Campus Principal, Professor Gordon Shirley. “The synergy with the artistic community will continue to be honed and nurtured well beyond the University’s sixtieth year”, he said.

Through several Faculties and departments on all the UWI campuses, several Caribbean artistic expressions have been the subject of theses and dissertations that herald and critically analyse the role of the Caribbean artist in the development of the West Indian nations. In addition, the Mona Campus Principal asserted that over the history of the University, several artists in residence have been associated with the campus,

The high standards of the artists, whose work will be auctioned, are noteworthy. Rodney and Cooper emerged in the early Jamaican post Independence era. Cooper, who was the first Jamaican artist to be invited to hold an art show at the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C., is well known for his love of displaying the richness and vibrancy of past and present Jamaican life on his canvas. Rodney’s and Cooper’s work will be auctioned alongside forms sculpted from clay, with signature styles as molded by Pearson, Harrack and Supersad.

Hope Brooks will put her affinity for the nature of the Caribbean landscape on display and on auction. Besides being a practitioner, Ms Brooks understands the importance of the delivery of quality tertiary education. She derived this sensitivity as an art educator, who has played an important role in the development of the Jamaica School of Art at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts; where she still teaches and which offers joint programmes with the UWI.

Other artists making significant donations to the auction include Roy Reid, who is also known as a ‘grass-roots’ intuitive philosopher; the young, self-taught painter, Fitzroy Symister, whose realism is captured through acrylic on canvas. Recently, Symister has broadened his subject matter to include landscapes and semi-abstract pieces. Also featured in the auction are the works of Gillian Scarlett, who happens to be the Mona Campus architect.

The Gala will be held Wednesday July 16, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. This event which features the Silent Auction is just one in a series of activities being staged by the University of the West Indies in its week-long Celebration of its Sixtieth Anniversary. Other activities in Convocation Week include an Alumni Breakfast the morning after the Banquet, concert by the University Singers and a last lap fete at the Student Union on Saturday July 19, with Music by Fab five and Peter Phillips Disco.

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