Mon | Feb 26, 2024

Mandeville’s Art Fair turns 30

Biggest in the English-speaking Caribbean, showcase attracts record number of artists and patrons

Published:Sunday | December 3, 2023 | 12:06 AMDudley McLean II - Contributor
Guests, comprising of a cross section of art enthusiasts and artists at the opening night of the Mandeville Art Fair.
Guests, comprising of a cross section of art enthusiasts and artists at the opening night of the Mandeville Art Fair.
Artist Bunny Hewitt with one of his paintings.
Artist Bunny Hewitt with one of his paintings.
A painting by D. Cunningham.
A painting by D. Cunningham.
A range of artwork on display at the Mandeville Art Fair
A range of artwork on display at the Mandeville Art Fair
Mark Cameron stands in front of one of his paintings.
Mark Cameron stands in front of one of his paintings.
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Mandeville’s premier Art Fair is one of those social events that serve the purpose of viewing art in person, and an opportunity to engage in important conversations.

At the same time, funds garnered from the sale of art pieces on display go towards supporting the Roman Catholic Diocesan Charities and poor relief activities, since the Art Fair’s inception in 1991 by the first bishop of Mandeville, Paul Boyle, and a handful of faithful friends.

Now in its 30th year, having to be placed on hold during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in 2020 and 2021, the rector of Mandeville’s Roman Catholic St Paul of the Cross Cathedral, Fr Michael Rowe, said that the 2023 Art Fair was “the biggest exposition in the English-speaking Caribbean, with more pieces and variety on this occasion on display.” Participants were from all over Jamaica, who have vested their innate talents as they engage human imagination, nature and creativity in artistic creations from cultural to psychological manifestations.

SCHOLARSHIP

Committee member of the 2023 Art Fair that was held from November 9 to 11 at the St John Bosco Auditorium in Hatfield, Manchester, Marcia Tai Chun, was overheard saying that a scholarship in the name of Julie Lyn, to a student at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, was one of the financial contributions from art sales.

Among the hundreds of art pieces was that of Mandeville-based artist Bunny Hewitt. He said that he has been involved since the inception of the event over 30 years ago. He was on hand to explain to prospect buyers and viewers of his work.

Another local artist with international weight was Mark Cameron, a fine arts maverick and chef and graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. He was impressed by the wide variety and diversity of art pieces from across Jamaica. Mark has participated in the art fair for nine years, and had five pieces for public viewing.

One female visitor, Cecile Johnson, said that, “as a lover of art that features women and children and captures a mother’s love, I was delighted by the many pieces exhibited at the event.” She even pointed out a few of her favourites, highlighting the works of artist D. Cunningham and Jackson.

The opening evening on November 9 was graced by the presence of Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Mandeville, Rt Reverend John Persaud, life coach Nadine Sinclair, Sonja Allen and her sister Margaret Russell, impact industrial proprietor Jackie Groves, real estate agent Fay Petgrave, Wayne Reid, young art enthusiasts Kenneil Mitchell, and a vast cross section of galleries, collectors, and art professionals.

Dudley McLean, II, who is from Mandeville, is executive director of Associación de Debate Bilingüe Xaymaca (Adebatex), promoting debating in Spanish in high schools. He is a graduate of Codrington College, UWI, (Cave Hill). Send feedback to dm15094@gmail.com.