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The National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston

The moment you arrive in Jamaica, the creativity of it’s people is evident. At dances, you’ll see people moving about to the beat of the music. If there is a canvas, you’ll probably find people painting… And normally with bright colors too!

The Jamaican people find great happiness in creative self-expression, and this can be seen at the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston.

This massive gallery was opened in 1974, and attracts you instantaneously, not only because of its looming size – it is the biggest public art museum in the English-speaking Caribbean – but it is also the oldest museum, filled with rich culture and history… literally.

It is comprised of an extensive collection of art from early and modern artists from Jamaica, as well as other Caribbean islands and international regions. A large part of the National Galleries collection is available for visitors to view.

The National Gallery of Jamaica is home to the top Jamaican art collection, which spans from the time of the Taino, the first inhabitants of Jamaica, whose artifacts date back thousands of years, to today, and many of these significant art works are on display all year round.

The National Gallery also regularly features many temporary displays that promote different parts of Jamaican art, and include works from established professionals to the younger up-and-coming arts.

The exhibition program here includes presentations of work by foremost Jamaican artists, themed shows, guest selections, and traveling exhibitions for international artists. The Gallery also plays host to the island’s leading national exhibition, the National Biennial, which focuses on local and Caribbean artists.

The National Gallery also offers a broad range of informative amenities, such as guided tours, talks by community members, discussion panels, and art programs for children. The Gallery boasts a gift shop and a coffee shop. The gift shop features reproductions of the art, books, and arts and crafts from local artists, all of which can be purchased in support of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s operational costs, as well as to support the Jamaican artists).

The Gallery offers the famous Last Sunday’s program, where the gallery is open between 11h00 and 16h00, and there is no entrance cost. Tours are offered, as well as activities for children and special programming.

Also featured is a wide variety of media, including acrylic on canvas and wood sculptures. Some of the most popular and esteemed displays are at the Edna Manley gallery. Here you can see the works of the “mother of Jamaican art”, as well as the works of Barrington Watson and Albert Huie, who are known to have depicted some of the most important cultural and historical parts of Jamaica’s past.

Overall it’s a great way to discover more about Jamaica’s rich culture and definitely worth a visit.


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