Zemicon Gallery closes forever by end of December – Cost of Culture prohibitive without National Gallery

You need to go to the City fast… The 5th Carmichael Prize Exhibit is underway once more at Zemicon on Hincks Street thanks to Canadian firm Goldcorp. But that’s not enough to stop ZemicON becoming ZemicOFF by the end of December!

Zemicon-Finale-004Therese Hadchity told us she has been fighting 20 years to keep the arts alive through her gallery. She says a few years back she had prepared a proposal for a private/public-sector initiative to keep arts going and it was under review from Government agencies who are yet to respond to the concept!

St Bathsheba holding by some strands of Faith - R. Alleyne

St Bathsheba holding by some strands of Faith - R. Alleyne

When one recalls that Prime Minister David Thompson says he does not envision a National Gallery anytime soon, and that even when he would contemplate such a move, it would be to place it in a Zone 1 area so as to protect it – the reality may be that getting such clearance puts the likelihood of a National Gallery on the scope of February 31st…

Foreground right: Richard Alleyne, Inset Mid-foreground: Alicia Alleyne and Therese Hadchity chat with patron

Foreground right: Richard Alleyne, Inset Mid-foreground: Alicia Alleyne and Therese Hadchity chat with patron

Apart from that the exhibition is excellent compared to other years – the theme is for BCC students and centres on ‘Beginnings,’ some approached it in an obvious manner, while others decided to be more oblique.

There was Sheena Rose’s “Vroom Vroom Beep” which is the impetus which led to her animation of a dog driving a car in a dream world she envisioned not so long ago. Alicia Alleyne had mixed digital media forming a triptych, but as to how she perceived the theme of “Beginnings” I am not sure. Kraig Yearwood had an untitled piece that held many fascinated – which is why no photo, since the crowd was too thick for me to get a clear shot.

The ubiquitous Ms Rose alongside her "Vroom Vroom Beep"

The ubiquitous Ms Rose alongside her "Vroom Vroom Beep"

Again, the people piled on to the street at Zemicon, not only more time but perhaps more space? I still feel many go to be seen rather than savour the fine efforts placed on the walls.

"In Your Face" - Shari Garnes

"In Your Face" - Shari Garnes

Fine efforts such as Shari Garnes’ “In Your Face” or Richard Alleyne’s “St Bathsheba holding by some strands of faith” (he recently exhibited with Don Small in Speightstown), I asked for the significance of canonising Bathsheba and Richards says although he hails from the North, he fell in love with the East Coast almost from the time he laid eyes there epochs ago.

Melanie Springer's own artwork for cover of "Pearl - A Caribbean story" aval. at Amazon

Melanie Springer's own artwork for cover of "Pearl - A Caribbean story" aval. at Amazon

For Melanie Springer, the exhibition’s theme was obvious and multi-present once you dug deep and sifted between the layers. She just wrote her first book, “Pearl,” and designed its cover which was on display at Zemicon – how many authors do you know design the covers of their tomes?

Patrons examining Nicholas Barnett's "A Glimpse (King Dyall)"

Patrons examining Nicholas Barnett's "A Glimpse (King Dyall)"

Nicholas Barnett’s striking rendition of Mac Donald Dunleavers, a.k.a, King Dyall also graced the walls of the City gallery. The voting goes on ’til Mid-December, after that – who will sustain the tradition of a gallery in Bridgetown? Just pelt that to one side along with Graeme Hall National Park! It seems Barbados is going the way of Cancun, no genuine culture or green spots, just Condos and Waiters everywhere, sigh…

3 Responses

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  1. Yayyy! I’m sorry to hear that the gallery is closing mum, but you’ve done an amazing job with it over the years that it’s been there.

    Nicolai H

  2. Therese Hadchity and Zemicon Gallery are so important to Barbados.

    It is the ONLY gallery besides Lancaster Great House Gallery which shows edgy work, work that needs exposure even knowing that many pieces may not sell.

    Therese has taken this risk constantly, knowing at times that she would not make the rent she has to pay there.

    Zemicon Gallery and Therese are a vital team that makes us look at art, and in so doing, educates us.

    It is very sad that either government or private enterprise would not consider sponsoring this gallery to keep it going.

    I live in hope that Zemicon and Therese will remain with us.

    Corrie Scott

  3. Like Corrie, I keep hoping that someone or something will magically appear to save the Zemicon Gallery from closing. It is almost unbelievable to think that someone who has made such an important contribution to art in Barbados can be allowed to just go so quietly! Therese’s contribution has been enormous, and I have spent many many happy hours in the gallery learning from her edgy, educated and perceptive choices. But as Ras Akyem has said in a recent interview,the great indifference to the arts in Barbados( and I include theatre and film) from the powers that be ( dem with the money) is astonishing, puzzling and dismaying… and a form of torture to those of in the creative fields. Will it ever end?

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