JM | Nov 8, 2022

RUBiS InPulse exposes young artists to spirited discussion on Caribbean art

/ Our Today

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Artiste Oneika Russell (centre) makes a point during the RUBiS Art Project panel discussion held at the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) on November 3, 2022. The panel included presentations from Dominican artist, Johanna Castillo (right, partially obscured), Camille Chedda (left), Jamaican artist and RUBiS InPulse project manager, and Yina Jimenez Suriel, visiting Dominican curator.

The Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) was last Thursday (November 3) the place to be for local artists as the institution hosted a panel discussion for students and art practitioners as part of the RUBiS InPulse art initiative.

The event, held under the theme ‘How our perspective of the Caribbean has changed in material and conceptual terms’, included presentations from Dominican artist Johanna Castillo; Camille Chedda, Jamaican artist and InPulse project manager; Yina Jimenez Suriel, Dominican curator and Jamaican artist; and RUBiS InPulse mentor, Oneika Russell.

Dominican Republic artist Johanna Castillo (left) chats with Jamaican artist and RUBiS InPulse mentor Oneika Russell at the start of panel discussion at the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) on November 3. 

As the lecture room filled up, event moderator, artist and InPulse mentor Phillip Thomas led the lively discussion that saw many opposing views. 

The well-traveled and highly experienced curator Yina Jiménez Suriel posited the Caribbean as a conceptual rather than a geographic framework igniting a spirited discussion on what defines Caribbean art.

Visiting artist Johanna Castillo, among her many points, suggested that there is “constant tension between what a label has and what you’re supposed to do when you have this label”.

The long discussion, with full participation from the panel and the audience, ran overtime without the complex topic being exhausted.

The Art Stock located at Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, offers fine art pieces.

The panel discussion was part of a 12-workshop series initiated and funded by the RUBiS InPulse art project. 

Dominican Republic-born and based, Johanna Castillo, on her first ever visit to Jamaica, is currently conducting the workshops at Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA). She is accompanied by visiting curator Yina Jiménez Suriel. 

The experimental workshop explored the use of textiles as a way to acknowledge and deconstruct their identities, raising awareness of the life cycle of clothing and its impact on the environment, and to understand how clothing shapes identities. 

RUBiS InPulse scholarship awardee Demar Brackenridge, poised to graduate the EMCVPA in just a few short weeks, hailed the overarching InPulse art programme as life changing. 

Artwork done by RUBiS InPulse scholarship awardee Demar Brackenridge.

“I learnt so much, I can’t even begin to explain.” 

The former Dunoon Technical High School student noted that getting the scholarship made a big impact on his life.

InPulse facilitated his participation in numerous events and exhibitions from New York to Germany.

Fellow scholarship recipient Sheldon Green echoed similar sentiments.

He encouraged others to join the programme to build themselves. He added that “opportunities are there, we just need to grab on to them”.

The RUBiS InPulse art programme facilitates the practice of visual and creative arts as a positive means of expression and self-development. 

RUBiS Energy Jamaica and its charitable foundation, RUBiS Mécénat, built and have supported the programme since 2015.

Participants in the RUBiS InPulse art initiative, painting a mural.

In addition to the training, exposure and art activities, 22 scholarships have been awarded to InPulse students to study at EMCVPA or ‘Edna’ as it is more popularly known. 

Now in its sevent year, the programme has brought several international artists to Jamaica to share and network with young Jamaican artists, as well as funding Jamaican artists to participate in international art events.

The Johanna Castillo-hosted workshops, panel discussion and final exhibition, entitled ‘Restitution’ – open to the public through to November 11 – are all part of the InPulse art programme initiated by RUBiS Mécénat/RUBiS Energy Jamaica, and in collaboration with the Caribbean Art Initiative.


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