RUBiS Energy Jamaica Limited has invested in several young Jamaican visual arts students and fine artists through its InPulse Art Project with support from the company’s foundation, RUBiS Mecenat, to fund their participation in the Tide Rising Art Projects.
The Tide Rising Art Projects is an artist-led initiative out of Kingston, Jamaica and the brainchild of Jamaican artist Oneika Russell. It began on July 2nd and will run until July 30th at the Clemente Center on the Lower Eastside in Manhattan – showcasing the works of Caribbean artists. The exhibit is being staged under the theme ‘Transformation: Objects and Images’ in Relation’.
Two young Jamaican art students from the RUBiS InPulse Art Project have been given the opportunity to attend the New York based exhibition. They are 19-year-old Adriel Irwin and 20-year-old Demar Brackenridge. Another, Andre Bowen, is amongst the three budding local artists, affiliated with the RUBiS InPulse Art Project, to be featured in a documentary being produced by independent Jamaican filmmaker Danielle Russell.
The Tide Rising Art Projects features the work of Oneika Russell and Camille Chedda, project manager of the RUBiS InPulse Art Project – to which Russell is also affiliated.
The works of six other contemporary Caribbean artists are also featured. Namely: Jamaica’s Alicia Brown and Sharon Norwood; Katherine Kennedy from Barbados; Tessa Mars from Haiti; Wendell Mc Shine from Trinidad; and Dominique Hunter from Guyana.
The exhibition opened on the heels of Chedda’s and Russell’s completion of the Tout-Monde Art Foundation’s Homo Sargassum Artist Residency from April through June 2021 in Martinique – facilitated and supported by SARA, RUBiS Mecenat and Holdex.
The organizer of the exhibition, Oneika Russell, indicated that the support received from the Clemente Center and RUBiS’ involvement was invaluable – as Jamaica does not have an easily accessible cultural fund that works flexibly with creatives on projects. Some US$14,000 have been allocated by RUBiS to cover costs associated with travel, accommodation, shipping, installation costs, material; and the documentary on the up-and-coming Jamaican artists.
Additionally, since 2015, RUBiS has been providing full scholarships to the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts for participants of the company’s InPulse Art Project who meet the school’s prerequisites. Programme participants are offered academic grants for Mathematics and English; and are taught life skills such as portfolio management, bookkeeping, customer services and interpersonal skills.
Director of Human Resources at RUBiS Energy Jamaica, Donnovan Dobson said the programme has been impacting a number of Jamaican inner-city youth with an interest in visual arts. “It has been making a difference in their lives. It gives youngsters, who may not have much of an interest in academia, the chance to hone their creative skills as well as receive assistance in the guidance of their artistic careers through the invaluable connections and first-world training that the programme facilitates.”
The opening on July 2nd saw several persons of Caribbean descent and others connected to the Caribbean community turning out in support of the exhibition. Russell indicated that these art connoisseurs have expressed delight at the level of show at a local cultural centre which normally exhibits artists of Latin descent from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Latin America.
The Tide Rising Art Projects is Oneika Russell’s second NYC exhibition. The previous being ‘conversationXchange’ in 2017. Her current exhibit is positioned as a first iteration to provide proof of concept to propose the show to museums and larger galleries in other countries. Regarding the experience for the team of featured artists and students, Russell indicated that “Some have learned new processes for exhibiting their work such as developing more systemized installation plans for the curatorial team as well as learning how to pack and ship work overseas.”
Already, Adriel Irwin and Demar Brackenridge have garnered experience as curatorial assistants to exhibition curator Petrina Dacres. Their exposure to the NYC art mecca is expected to help propel their interest in the arts and arm them with experience to navigate the global artistic space.