Kingston, Jamaica – (Monday, September 8, 2014) – NLS partners with ARC Magazine to stage its second exhibition abroad this year— a presentation at (e)merge art fair of work by 10 international artists based in Jamaica, the Caribbean, the U.S. and Canada. ARC and NLS will present at (e)merge art fair October 2 – 5 with an exhibition that puts local artists in direct conversation with contemporary art outside of the Caribbean. The 10 international artists being represented by ARC and NLS at (e)merge are James Cooper (Bermuda), Stephanie Cormier (Canada), Ian Deleón (Cuba/Brazil), Nadia Huggins(St. Vincent and the Grenadines), Leasho Johnson (Jamaica), Becca Kallem (Washington, DC), Mark King (Barbados), Anabel Vasquez Rodriguez (Puerto Rico), Oneika Russell (Jamaica), Storm Saulter (Jamaica).
The (e)merge art fair, being staged from Ocobter 2 – 5, connects emerging-art professionals from around the globe with collectors, curators and cultural decision makers in Washington, DC. The GALLERY PLATFORM features participating galleries in hotel rooms and other spaces on designated floors. The ARTIST PLATFORM features a vetted selection of works by independent artists throughout the hotel’s public areas and grounds. (e)merge’s two exhibition platforms inspire a new echelon of art collectors and provide curatorial access to the latest movements in emerging art
International art fairs, such as (e)merge, VOLTA NY, Art Basel and Frieze, though almost unknown and untapped in the Caribbean’s burgeoning art scene, have for decades provided unmatched commercial opportunities for art galleries, non-profit spaces and other non-traditional art spaces to introduce their best works to individuals in the art world who influence the art market.
In Jamaica and the wider Caribbean contemporary visual art remains an untapped and underinvested resource. Though in the last decade a host of non-government organisations (NGOs) in the region (for eg. Alice Yard, Trinidad, NLS, Kingston, ARC Magazine, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, and Fresh Milk, Barbados) have been founded to address the infrastructural and critical needs of the visual arts community— exhibition and studio space, residencies etc.— little has been done to develop or revive the economic potential of the sector.
ARC and NLS have made significant strides in building a global ecosystem around regional contemporary visual art and its practitioners by researching and adapting international contemporary best practices to the needs of the Caribbean region. Now the two organisations partner in building a market around visual art in the Caribbean by engaging international art fairs.
At the moment, the Caribbean is especially well-placed to engage the global art market. The region has begun to glean significant interest and recognition in the last few years. Artists from the Caribbean Diaspora have participated in established art fairs like VOLTA NY, VOLTA, Frieze, Art Basel (Miami Beach, Basel, Hong Kong), and the Armory. Several diaspora artists such as Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaica), Blue Curry (The Bahamas), Hew Locke (Guyana), Frank Bowling (Guyana), Frank Walters (Antigua), Tavares Strachan (The Bahamas) have developed significant markets; their names becoming synonymous with the increasingly global expanse of contemporary art. Leading contemporary art magazine Frieze featured the work of Jamaican artist Ebony G. Patterson on their April 2014 cover, along with a five page spread of reflections from six Caribbean art professionals (including Holly Bynoe), and mention of notable Caribbean art institutions (including NLS).