Jamaica Magazine

Art Review: Expo on Jamaica’s Beauties draws tears at Swept Away Resort

Written by Anthea McGibbon

Can you believe being brought to tears by visual arts? Well it happened for real at the expo held December 6-12, at the sports complex of Couple’s Swept Away Resort, Negril.

 Opening Monday, December 6, in the hotel’s conference room, the expo titled ‘Be Swept Away by Jamaica’s Beauties’ was mounted at the sports complex opposite host hotel Couples Swept Away for viewing by over 1,000 visitors. The bifocal expo, transforming the complex into an oasis of talent, was being hosted under the patronage of hotelier Jane Issa who over the years has been exemplary in showcasing and promoting strictly Jamaican talents throughout the Couples chain of hotels.

“Be Swept Away by Jamaica’s Beauties’ was held to sensitise on the fine arts, creativity and culture of Jamaicans. Allowing artists volunteering with the foundation to earn an extra dollar for Christmas, the hotel took no portion of the gleanings, and hence 15 per cent was committed to OAaSIS.

All week long, tourists and selected Negril residents from host hotel and neighbouring resorts were treated to literary and visual works, originals and prints of photographs and paintings and craft items by a few of Jamaica’s finest artists. They were also shown youtube clips and told about Jamaica’s artists, culture, the foundation and the scope of art in Jamaica by journalist and artist Anthea McGibbon who started the Foundation.

The artists were mostly volunteers with the Foundation at the entity’s projects for youth 0-25 and included patron Barrington Watson, Howard Moo Young, Rico, Ewan McAnuff, Sharon Fox Mould. Literary works were offered by Jermaine Gordon (Colour and Power of Your Thoughts), Jamaica Guild of Artists (Art of Jamaica), Joan Andrea Hutchinson (Kin Teet Kibba Heart Bun) and Joan Williams(Tour Jamaica). Nicholas daSilva was the only American allowed to showcase works as he, as an OAaSIS volunteer, donated from his comic book series “Dread and Alive” on Jamaica’s reggae superstars. At Monday night’s opening Rollie Fresh and Boom Steppa were present to perform.

Although off to a slow start, sales increased as the days progressed, as word spread about the event. The popular items were a “Pretty House” photo by Anthea McGibbon, “Smile Jamaica” drawing by Howard Moo Young,  print of ‘Mother and Child’ and postcards of Barrington Watson’s paintings, original “Bobo Shanti” oil by Rico, print of ‘Standpipe’ by Ewan McAnuff.  McAnuff’s print of “Standpipe” was bought by event patron Jane Issa.

The book “Colour and Power of Your Thoughts’ and poetry by Jermaine Gordon were an attraction and all copies of the book available at the expo were bought.

Hotel representatives Winifield Wellington, co-owner of Traveller’s Beach Resorts, Daniel Quetlas, general manager of Club Riu, Damian Salmon, manager of Rockhouse Hotel were among the list of purchasers.

Overall the expo of visual and literary arts received raving comments and commendations from local and international visitors while attracting a few more volunteers and organizations to the support base of the Foundation. The efforts to expose fine artists through this means were highly appreciated and mentioned on the comments sheet.

Marine biologist Frank Adams, known for tennis, was the first to speak of how the expo enriched his stay at Couples. Rockhouse Hotel’s Damian Salmon who came over on the invitation of a highly excited Dwight Jackson, also from that Hotel, was one of many who voiced a desire to “see more” of this type of expo showcasing fine arts of Jamaicans in that area. Visitor Toni-Ann Powell and staffers at the hotel agreed that the expo captured the natural beauty of Jamaica.

Right until December 12, and the expo’s organizers received invitations for hosting similar events at other resort locations including galleries locally and internationally, while representatives of foundations offered partnerships. Graffiti Gallery owners Steve Wilson and Bonnie J Heath extended a personal invitation for an execution of both expo and workshops for Canada, while Financial consultant Adam Wilson, one brought to tears, from Illinois discussed shared projects between OAaSIS and his theatre group. Roxann Yarges said the expo was an inspiration to her.

Hotel representatives Winifield Wellington, co-owner of Traveller’s Beach Resorts, Daniel Quetlas, general manager of Club Riu, Damian Salmon, manager of Rockhouse Hotel were among the list of purchasers.

The projects of the OAaSIS Foundation include libraries, art departments, CXC and creative workshop series and online career libraries catering to youth with priority on primary and secondary levels, and the young at heart.

Discussions for the expo to be mounted again by March at that location, have started, but a date has not been defined.

[Support base included Whistling Frog, Dr Foster, P Gavin James Designs, Pickney International, Couples Resorts, OAaSIS International, and the media.]

About the author

Anthea McGibbon

Anthea McGibbon, Editor and senior journalist, features arts, culture and people of Jamaica. Contact her at [email protected] or [email protected]