On the occasion of the opening of John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night, PAMM Associate Curator Diana Nawi and independent curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson will speak on the life and work of John Dunkley, a painter and sculptor active in Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1930s and 40s. Nawi and Smythe-Johnson will discuss Dunkley's singular artistic practice, the political and social context in which he was working, and his shifting role as a figure within Jamaica cultural history and global art history.
Dunkley was born in rural northwestern Jamaica, and as a young man traveled to Panama and Costa Rica, and possibly Cuba and elsewhere to work. Dunkley returned to Jamaica in the early 1930s, opening a barbershop near downtown Kingston’s busy port, and making paintings and wood carvings in his spare time. His oeuvre spans little more than a decade, and only approximately 50 paintings and 25 sculptures are known to exist today. Best known for his landscapes, Dunkley employed a precise language and iconography across his production. His work reflects the breadth of his life experience; his interest in popular culture, current events, and art history; and a remarkably singular vision of the world.
Diana Nawi is associate curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami since 2012 where she has organized such exhibitions as Adler Guerrier: Formulating a Plot, Iman Issa: Heritage Studies, and Nari Ward: Sun Splashed, among others.
Nicole Smythe-Johnson is an independent curator and writer based in Kingston. Her writing has appeared in ARC Magazine, The Caribbean Review of Books, The Miami Rail, and Flash Art, among others. Smythe-Johnson is the first Tilting Axis curatorial fellow.