Mandeville’s ‘major social event’ sparkles at 30

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Organisers of the Mandeville Art Fair have hailed it as a success and a major social event for this town, following the end of the event’s 30th staging last weekend.

Hundreds of art enthusiasts from across the island converged on what has become one of the largest art shows in the country, with scores of artists mounting more than 400 works.

The three-day event closed with a craft fair/family fun day on Saturday, November 4, at St John Bosco.

The Mandeville Art Fair is a fund-raising event put on by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mandeville, in support of a number of its institutions.

Roman Catholic Bishop of Mandeville John Persaud told the Jamaica Observer that following the two-year hiatus due to the COVD-19 pandemic, the show continues to grow.

“It is really a marvellous event. While it is the major fundraiser for our diocese that we are able to get some money from it from the sale of the art work, all of the money raised from this goes towards charitable outreach ministries in the diocese – health clinics, schools, anything that we are doing works like that in the diocese. This is my second year of experiencing the art fair and the amazing thing for me was to just see the talent we have,” he said.

Persaud added that other than his sister, Denise Henley, the over 400 art pieces were done by local artists.

“All of the works are really local Jamaican artists that are featured and the talent is absolutely stunning and amazing. This year I said for the exception, I have a sister who is an artist, and she came specially for the art fair this year and she brought with her three small pieces which she donated to the art fair,” he explained.

“We also through this, are able to sponsor a student every year to a recognised art school that can really develop their talent, so it has really been a wonderful event,” he added.

This year the student, Shanelle Davis, benefited from the Julie Lyn Scholarship.

Marcia Tai Chung, a member of the art fair committee, said Davis’s work was also showcased.

“Every year we also give a scholarship to a student at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. It is all part of what we are trying to do to promote art, celebrate Jamaican creativity. We named the scholarship after Julie Lyn, one of our foundation members who died tragically,” Chung said.

She said that “art is a representation of the creativity of Jamaican people.

“When we started out, what we wanted to do was to showcase Jamaican art and artists. It didn’t matter whether or not they were well renowned or established. We did have some [renowned artists]. In fact, in the early days I had the pleasure of meeting Albert Huie in his studio and that is what we did. We made contact with artists. We developed a relationship with them and it was all at the outset for a worthy cause for the charitable endeavours of the diocese of Mandeville,” she said.

“Over these 30 years, we have kept that mandate and we have managed to be able to help every year all the ministries, especially the early childhood education institutions and the clinics that we run in the diocese of Mandeville,” she added.

She further explained the art fair is highly anticipated annually.

“What we do is we contact the artists, we get pieces from them and they tell us what they want for it. We put a percentage on that and people come, and in addition what this is, it is the social event of the year for Mandeville,” she said.

“It has become sort of the place to be every year, it is every second week in November and it is over three days. Over time, what we have done is expand the offerings and on a Saturday, with a craft fair and children’s corner,” she added.

Persaud is hopeful that the fair will inspire young people to have the zeal for art.

“I do feel that there is an upbeat again with the arts in general. I certainly feel that it is an important aspect of our lives as humans… I certainly would like to encourage our young people to explore and especially if they have the passion for it,” he said.

Mark Cameron, an artist, said he has participated in the art show for nine years.

“This is a true representation of art and the diversity of our country and it gives me an opportunity to meet with other artists who are here… I have got five pieces this year. I have from representational to abstract, impressionism, basically reflecting Jamaica’s art history and culture. I try to do a lot of landscapes that are part of Jamaica,” he said.