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Thomas-Girvan carves out award

Wednesday, January 09, 2013    

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"HUMBLED," is how artist Jasmine Thomas-Girvan describes winning the 2012 Aaron Matalon Award for her outstanding contribution to biennial exhibition currently underway at the National Gallery of Jamaica in downtown Kingston.

Thomas-Girvan, a jeweller and sculptor, presented two works. However, her mixed media — bronze, wood, found objects and feathers — Dreaming Backwards that stood out.

Residing in Trinidad and Tobago, Thomas-Girvan was unable to attend the recent presentation at the National Gallery. However, her daughter Alatashe Girvan was on hand to deputise.

She notes that her mother find inspiration everywhere.

"She really puts time and effort into her work. And although it might seem really random at times, the end product is usually impressive. She is inspired by everything, everywhere, from words and visual to music, and it all comes out in her work," the younger Girvan says.

In an email response to the Jamaica Observer, Thomas-Girvan says she is truly privileged to be recognised for her contribution to the country's artistic input as the biennial presented the work of so many accomplished artists.

In explaining the works she says: "2012 was a very special year for Jamaica and while we all revelled in the triumph gifted to us by our athletes, our Golden Jubilee precipitated an evaluation of our journey to this point. Dreaming Backwards serves as a point of departure as I try to understand more about our ancient dreams on the verge of extinction."

"Until we can face all of who we are and understand how we arrived at this place our capacity to dream into the future or imagine alternative histories is impeded. Dreaming liberates the imagination into sovereign space... so the first step for me was to create a series of vessels/containers to facilitate this odyssey," she continues.

Thomas-Girvan had high marks for the Jamaican art scene.

"It is healthy because it is dynamic. The biennial exhibition is a perfect reflection of this. Alongside all the traditional media, we are now being exposed to an expansive range of artistic expressions. New media and new interpretations of traditional disciplines... which is a mirror of our collective growth and development as a nation," she says.

The biennial exhibition continues at the National Gallery in downtown Kingston until March 9.

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