10 Must-See Art Exhibitions in the Caribbean in Summer 2014
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10 Must-See Art Exhibitions in the Caribbean in Summer 2014

Picture of Patrick Norrie
Updated: 29 August 2016
It doesn’t take much to persuade one to visit the Caribbean during the summer. However, if you can tear yourself away from the beaches, you will be able to discover some exciting art within the region. Much effort has been expended recently by the likes of Art Magazine to promote Caribbean contemporary art, so there’s no better time than now to experience the 10 best exhibitions on the islands this summer.

Jamaica | In Retrospect: Forty Years of the National Gallery of Jamaica at National Gallery of Jamaica

27 July – 26 October

In its 40th anniversary, the National Gallery of Jamaica has furnishedyy its calendar with some very intriguing exhibitions. Ongoing at the moment are Kingdom of Characters and Anything with Nothing: Art from the Streets of Urban Jamaica. The former examines the development of manga and anime within Japanese character culture, while the latter seeks to rectify the lack of recognition bestowed on the street art movement in Jamaica.

Both of these exhibitions finish early July, therefore allowing full attention to be given to In Retrospect, an exhibition documenting the active role that the National Gallery has played in the Jamaican art scene. For 40 years it has researched, collected and cultivated Caribbean artists, so consequently the exhibition will be a riveting narrative of region’s history. These are exciting times at the gallery, particularly as it is also hosting the the Jamaican Biennial this year – starting on the 14th of November.

National Gallery of Jamaica, 12 Ocean Blvd. Block C, Kingston, Jamaica +1 876 922 1561


Puerto Rico | Paradise and Words: A Dialogue between Art and Literature in Puerto Rico at Ponce Museum of Art

Until 1 September

Ponce Museum of Art is no ordinary art gallery. Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstrokes in Flight, a 25-foot-high aluminium totem, sits on the front yard of a building built by Edward Durrell Stone, which won the International Design Award of Honour from the American Institute of Architects. This leaves visitors in no doubt that the Museum is a hugely impressive cultural powerhouse in Puerto Rico’s second largest city.

The Paradise and Words exhibition invites visitors to ambulate on a artistic journey in Puerto Rico. This in-depth exploration will involve 11 rooms with more than 250 works, starting from 18th century to the present day, from the internationally reputable collection of the museum. The artworks, collectively painting a cultural narrative of Puerto Rico, will be complemented by intertextual dialogue within the halls. This will involve fragments of poems, stories and literary texts by some of the most important Puerto Rican authors.

El Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico + 787 840 1510


Grenada | Jason de Caires Taylor at Grenada Underwater Sculptures

Throughout the summer

Are you tired of the general white cube experience you often get at art galleries? If so, you could take drastic action by going snorkelling underwater in Grenada, and view some incredible sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor. This underwater sculpture park really does give a whole new different perspective on the relationship between art and the environment, which explains why National Geographic once labeled this experience as one of the 25 Wonders of the World.

Grenada Underwater Sculptures, Saint George’s, Grenada +1 473 405 7900


jose bedia
“Otros amigos” by José Bedia, 20″ round, mixed media on canvas, 2014. Courtesy Lyle O Reitzel Arte Contemporáneo

Dominican Republic | Interplanetary Kisses at Lyle O. Reitzel Arte Contemporáneo

Until 23 July

In 2010, 2011 and 2013, Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery picked up awards from the Association of Art Critics for Best Exhibition. With this kind of track record, it would be criminal not to include the gallery in this list. Lyle O. Reitzel‘s pedigree is further enhanced by the fact that it has participated in various prestigious art fairs across the world.

Interplanetary Kisses is a collaboration between Cuban painter Jose Bedia and young Swiss artist Katja Loher. The latter specialises in video-art, utilising digital and technological resources. Curated by Jeanette Zwingenberger, both artists create a world that questions the relationship between humanity and the universe. This unique and fantastical exhibition should not be missed.

Lyle O. Reitzel Arte Contemporáneo ,Torre Piantini, Suite 1 y 2a, Gustavo Mejia Ricart, Esq. Av. Abraham Lincoln, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic +1 809 227 8361


Cayman Islands | Metamorphoses at National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

Until 28 August

Francisco Goya and Salvador Dali unexpectedly come together in the Cayman Islands’ National Gallery to form a new exhibition. Metamorphoses showcases Goya’s famous Los Caprichos series, encompassing 80 etchings that arguably illustrate the grim absurdity of everyday life in 18th century Spain. This is quite a coup for the gallery, as Los Caprichos is widely considered to be one of the most influential series of graphic images in the history of western art. However, if that isn’t enough, the gallery invites Dali into the fold with his Les Caprices de Goya. The surrealist revisited Goya’s prints and proceeded to create his own set of hand-coloured and hand-signed etchings. Furthermore, just to round it all off, 16 local artists have been given an opportunity to offer a contemporary response to the aforementioned social and satirical works by Dali and Goya. Consequently, Metamorphoses is an engaging blend of classical, modern and contemporary art.

National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, Esterley Tibbetts Highway, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands +345 945 8111


walter otero gallery
Courtesy Walter Otero Contemporary and the artist

Puerto Rico | CARLOS ROLÓN/Dzine at Walter Otero Contemporary Art

Until 20 August

Internationally renowned artist Carlos Rolón is having his first solo exhibition at Walter Otero this summer. Although he is from America, he has a very strong emotional bond with Puerto Rico, as his parents originate from there. Consequently, his roots are pervasive in all of his artwork. At Walter Otero, he is presenting a series of mirror paintings, consisting of crystal, quartz crystals and resin. The gallery itself, designed by architect Luis Gutiérrez and the engineer Pedro Muñoz Marín, is currently at the forefront of a creative revolution in San Juan. Walter Otero is a large modern and contemporary space that is creating quite a buzz in the Caribbean at the moment.

Walter Otero Contemporary Art, 402 Ave. Constitución, San Juan, Puerto Rico +1 787 627 5797


Martinique | Insomnia at Foundation Clement

Until 3 August

Clement House, based in Le François on the east coast of Martinique, is an old colonial sugarcane plantation building steeped in French West Indian history. Also it is renowned for being the birthplace of Rhum Agricole, a liquor distilled in the French Indies. Yet within this rum-infused horticultural paradise, there is also a chance to immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art at Foundation Clement. As well as possessing a library, it also promotes arts and the cultural heritage of the Caribbean. This exhibition by Philip Virapin is a photographic journey, bringing to life the particular atmospheres and colours of the night life.

Foundation Clement, Habitation Clément, Le François, Martinique +596 596 54 75 51


Trinidad and Tobago | Jackie Hickson at 101 Gallery

9 September – 18 September

101 Gallery is very significant within the Caribbean region, for it is the longest running art gallery in Trinidad and Tobago. The name is a reference to its original location: 101 Tragarete Road in Woodbrook. However, since 2005 the space has embedded itself in the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago’s premises in Federation Park. The gallery works hard to promote many of its local artists on its roster. So this September, it is Jackie Hickson’s turn to take centre-stage. He is an archetypal Caribbean artist, previously exhibited in USA and the UK, whose vivid and intuitive paintings depict everyday life in Trinidad and Tobago.

101 Gallery, 84 Woodford Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago +868 628 4081


popup studios
Courtesy Popop Studios International Centre for the Visual Arts

The Bahamas | Cygnus at Popop Studios International Centre for the Visual Arts

Until 11 July

Since its inception, Popop Studios has really helped to galvanise the Bahamian art scene. As a non-profit entity, it is therefore keenly focused on nurturing its community of artists on the gallery’s two acre plot of land. Overall, Popop Studios’ mission statement is to provide a greater understanding of visual arts within the island by educating, promoting and critiquing new developments in contemporary art. At the moment, there is a captivating exhibition by local artist Dominique Knowles. Curated by Henio Schmid, Cygnus is a body of work which responds to Knowles’ first series Transcendence. Inspired by the aesthetics of the gallery, he has made a series of abstract paintings, experimental videos and found-object assemblages, evoking moody atmosphere and a sense of fragility.

Popop Studios, Dunmore Ave, Nassau, The Bahamas +1 242 322 7834


Martinique | Neruda, Tagore and Césaire for a reconciled universal at Aimé Césaire Theatre

Until 1 September

This exhibition focuses on the esteemed literary triumvirate, highlighting their shared universal humanist values. In particular, it engages with their struggles against all forms of oppression across the world such as colonialism, racism and fascism. Of course, Aimé Césaire is of particular pertinence here, as someone who was from Martinique and essentially the father of Negritude. So appropriately, this inspirational exhibition will be visible to the public in the gardens of Aimé Césaire Theatre.

Aimé Césaire Theatre, Rue Victor Severe, Fort-de-France, Martinique +596 59 43 29


By Patrick Norrie