Past medal winner in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition, Kimani Beckford has launched with much success his first solo exhibition on Sunday, March 24, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston. The ceremony which highlighted an array of Beckford’s notable pro-black works began at 3:00 PM.
Scores of supporters flocked to the Jamaica Conference Centre to share in this new chapter in Beckford’s journey.
Mr. Denzil Thorpe, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport said this about Kimani during his presentation at the launch of the solo exhibition: “I’m especially proud to say that Kimani is a product of my Ministry’s cultural development programme being implemented across the island through the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission.”
Thorpe then went on to name what in his opinion embodies great art; in that such work is meant to excite and delight and inspire.
He continued, “People like Kimani remind us what is possible and provide inspiration to go to work every day to unearth, develop and promote talent across Jamaica.”
The man of the hour Mr. Kimani Beckford, during his address to supporters and potential buyers, shared the personal significance of his most recent works; an element these recent creative endeavors share with much of his earlier paintings,
“Affirmation for me in this context embodies the importance and preservation of persons of color, namely Black People. Without regarding simply the stereotype of slavery and ‘Bruk out Culture’. Too often we see images of Black People degradingly expressing themselves,” Beckford said.
Beckford has been creating art since he was a child, and these elements have proven to be a focal point for his art ever since. The artist went on to quote Marcus Garvey saying “The Black skin is not a badge of shame but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness,” words Beckford expressed are printed in his own studio boldly for when he is hard at work.
“It is a good feeling to be a part of Kimani’s first solo exhibition, especially since he got his start with the JCDC in terms of a platform for his expressions. It is always amazing to see our participants go on to new things and make a way for themselves in their craft and their field.” said Sana Rose-Savage, Visual Arts Development Specialist at the JCDC.
Beckford is a standout entrant in the JCDC’s Jamaica Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition, taking home three bronze medals in 2005, two certificates of merit in the same year, and four silver medals in 2006, among other accolades. He also represented Jamaica at the UNESCO Art Camp in Andorra, Spain in 2010, courtesy of the JCDC and UNESCO.
The exhibition, Affirmation is courtesy of a grant from TDC 20 St(art)ups by the Dean Collection, an art collective founded by producer, rapper and art collector Kasseem “Swizz Beats” Dean and his wife Alicia Keys. Beckford shared that many of the pieces on display at Sunday’s launch were created in studio, specifically for this project.
The Affirmation tour will continue in Kingston March 25 through to April 22. From there, the Montego Bay viewing dates will begin on May 19 at the National Gallery West and extend for three months.