It is easily one of Kingston’s more creative addresses, ranking right up there with Trench Town and or 56 Hope Road, but less celebrated, at least, generally, but to those in the know, and especially the artsy and culturally aware, say 10A, and the automatically know you are indeed referring to “West Kings House Road”, that charming property across from the Canadian HIgh Commission, in what is indeed one of the City’s prized neighbourhoods.
Now, the beauty of the history of 10A, is the fact that it has always been identified with the sub-culture, at least back in the day, as today, the sub-culture has transitioned into being the mainstream, and 10A has been front and center of it all, and so bursting with stories that are so intertwined with not just Jamaica’s cultural history and evolution, the property itself, is an inspiration.
Untitled (Archives series), 2019, installation
Say the name Henzell, and many will think Jason and Justine Henzell and their tireless efforts in making the sleepy fishing village of Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth, one of the most sought after vacation addresses, worldwide, and currently Jamaica’s hottest real estate epicenter; But it was their Dad, Perry Henzell, author of that International Cult-classic and all time Jamaica no one home-grown movie – The Harder They Come, who internationalized the name Henzell and made it and 10A, famous, as it was at 10A, that Henzell penned the classic, that not only embraced the Jamaican sub-culture and its music, it shone the spotlight on the umbilical connecting corruption to the underworld and the overlords of industries…
Topography II, 2019, digital collage (men’s backs and text)
Anyway, the history of 10A is by far way more textured than being the home Henzell’s cult classic. And the truth be told, its time the shepherds of our Culture incorporate 10A, 56 Hope Road, Trench Town etc, in a Heritage Trail, across Kingston, suitably ‘plaqued’, with a brief history of their “Contribution” to our Culture and Heritage.
But more anon…
Anyway my dears, it was to 10A, that artist Petrona Morrison, bid her friends, well-wishers and art-lovers, to attend for her latest exhibition, and that they did, in fabulous numbers, speaks to standing as an artist, and creative pull, as she is an artist of longstanding, whose Work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with a number of international residences to her credit!
And little wonder here, as Petrona Morrison, is the Artist’s Artist, and the critic’s worse nightmare, as she does not pander, but expresses herself in the language only true artists know, and thus her work smacks of the self-indulgence rigour, that demands deconstruction but remains somewhat unattainable as its prose speaks more to the Artist and her journey than the onlooker.
There’s something very curious, perverse even, about seeing people, browsing a gallery, feigning a studious pose, studying screws or was it nails, in a showcase, or even the clipped ends of ‘Locks, as you mull, and try to imagine what they are thinking as you stare purposefully at them to capture their ah-ha, moment…And yet, you never do, as Petrona Morrison, is muse and mystic thumbing her nose at the traditional ‘concept’ of art, by delving into her own space and time, with such irreverent ease, she explodes myths and preconceived notions and modes, but yet managing to effectively style and embrace the concept she clearly eschews…
Mapping series 1b, 2019, digital collage
Dubbed “New Works” Morrison’s Show which opened in mid-September, and was curated by Art Historian Veerle Poupeye, who was also Chair, for the opening, will run until the 5th of October, and consists of 16-new pieces, that are as arresting, as they are exasperating. And with her preferred genre of expression being multi-media, the exhibition is indeed a challenge, as it dispenses with precepts and notions, ‘John P’ notionally, associate with “Art”, but dares to be emotional, unsettling and politically incorrect, in that its speaks its own language and not that of the crowd, even as the Artists draws from the concept of the “Selfie” and the now moot, NIDS, for her inspiration(s).
Mapping series 1b, 2019, digital collage
The Exhibition is worthy of a visit and indeed, its opening provided a well-needed respite and is a timely conversation starter, at a time, when the nation is probably at its lowest ebb, since we started representing ourselves, in our art, as a people, and with the Galleries to boot, as a headcount of galleries at this time, would elicit a collective national grown.
The exhibition, however, was not about doom and gloom, but about celebrating la difference, and the post-opening crowd made the do a fab after-party soiree, with libations and finger-foods adding to the intensity of the social intercourse.
Mapping series 1c, 2019, digital collage; Portrait of Petrina, 2018, digital collage
Twas, really tho, a charmingly fab outing, with among those out included: Her brother Dennis Morrison and wife Janet; Sister Anthea Morrison; her cousin, Eric Crawford; Poet Laureate Lorna Goodison; Paul Issa; the elegant Gloria Palomino; Margaret Chen; Professor Dr. Carolyn Cooper; Phillip Thomas; the endearing Hope Brooks; the charmingly lovely Gilou Bauer; Artist Amy Laskin; Douglas Reid of Grosvenor Gallery; Velma Pollard; Deborah Anzinger; Knolly Moses; Siblings Justine and Jason Henzel; Patron of the Arts, Tommy Ricketts; the charming Taynia Nethersole; Newspaper Columnist Annie Paul; the fab looking Bridget Brown, of Bridget’s Sandals; Artist Donovan Fairweather; the posterchild for fabness Enith Williams; Paul Morrison; Diane Frankson; artists Omari Ra and Khalfani Ra, (they are not related) ; Veerle Poupee;