The Jamaican Commission for Cultural Development (JCDC) seeks to promote digital art through its Jamaican visual arts competition and exhibition.
The event was open to artists aged six and over, who are Jamaican citizens, or who have resided in Jamaica for at least two years as of the closing date for entries.
Entries were accepted in seven categories: painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, textiles and textile arts, photography, and sculpture / assemblage.
A total of 171 award-winning pieces selected in the 2021 edition, covering all seven categories, are now on display at the Jamaica Conference Center in downtown Kingston.
JCDC Visual Arts Development Specialist Nicholas Rose said JIS News that the competition has been expanded to include graphic designs, to cater to people whose movements have been restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
He pointed out that there is a growing demand for digital art, noting that the industry is becoming lucrative.
âIt’s a dynamic industryâ¦ and we want to align ourselves with it; so we started with graphic designs. But in the future, we hope to include a lot more, like video art and animation, âsaid Mr. Rose.
He noted, however, that the introduction of new categories will require adjustments to the JCDC’s digital platform.
Mr Rose said none of the graphic designs submitted this year received any accolades or awards.
âBut this is the first time; it’s new, and a lot of people didn’t know about it. But this is something that we will promote, reassess and align [with], “he stressed.
The JCDC will also address people in special education, in order to facilitate their participation in the competition.
âWe want to reach everyone. We want to reach out to all the institutions so that everyone can show their talents, âhe said.
A total of 364 applications were submitted by email and through JCDC parish offices for the 2021 competition.
âIt was a very difficult process, especially collecting all the artwork from all over the island, in the midst of the pandemic. Sometimes there were blockages and sometimes people were unable to move around to get materials to do the job. But the artists and the Commission rose to the challenge, âsaid Rose.
He said participants were invited to submit photos of their work online and then in person for evaluation by JCDC referees.
Meanwhile, Mr. Rose encourages people to view the pieces on display at the exhibit.
He noted that there is a special section featuring the works of âspecial recipientsâ and âthe strongest works of artâ.
âIt’s a great show and the responses have been good; so I encourage everyone to see it, âhe said, noting that the event runs until March 2022.
Mr Rose said the prospect of holding the exhibition in other parts of the island would prove difficult and expensive, given the 171 pieces of art involved.
âBut we hope to do things in the future, on a regional basis, maybe in the western and eastern regions; but it’s still in the pipeline, âhe said.
For next year’s competition, Mr Rose said the deadline for submitting entries will be earlier than usual in light of the next 60e Independence anniversary celebrations.
Details regarding entry forms, rules and other aspects of the contest will be announced on the JCDC website.
âWith the upcoming Jamaica 60s celebrations, we are planning to do something special about this. So we can open tickets for this special event [towards] at the end of January, hopefully, âhe said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Hon. Olivia Grange, in a pre-recorded message during the opening of the virtual exhibit and the awards ceremony, encouraged Jamaicans to take their families and friends to see the exhibits during the holiday season.
âAs my ministry prepares for the long-awaited celebrations in honor of the 60e anniversary, the exhibition is just a glimpse of what we have in store to celebrate our creative arts, âshe added.
The minister noted that the competition and exhibition give artists, including children and adults, “a chance to shine alongside their works.”
âThe works created are not only uplifting and memorable, but also enlightening and heartwarming, with each piece reflecting various aspects of Jamaican daily life and capturing our rich culture,â she said.