Annabella Ogden Proudlock with Jamaican intuitive Leonard Daley;
photo © Edward M Gómez

The art dealer, educator and cultural activist Annabella Ogden Proudlock died in Jamaica on February 13, 2015, at the age of 71. Born in Porthcawl, Wales, “Annabee”, as she was known to many of her friends, worked as a fashion model in the “Swinging London” of the 1960s, during which time she first visited Jamaica for photo shoots. Later, she and her first husband, the photographer David Ogden, established a home in Jamaica, where they had two children.

Ogden worked for the production company of Perry Henzell, the director of the classic, Jamaican crime film The Harder They Come (1972), whose soundtrack helped boost reggae music worldwide. Annabella taught at a school for underprivileged children in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital. She developed a fundraising scheme that made use of children’s art on Christmas cards, an effort that opened doors for her to the local artists’ community. A few years after her husband’s death in 1978, Annabella, who now resided on Jamaica’s north coast, began developing an idea for a gallery that would serve as a commercial locus for her interests in craft, contemporary art and the work of the Jamaican intuitives, the self-taught art-makers of her adopted country whose creations had begun receiving serious attention from the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) starting in the late 1970s.

With her second husband, Peter Proudlock, and other partners, including the Jamaican artists Graham Davis and Dawn Scott, Annabella co-founded Harmony Hall Ltd in Ocho Ríos, on Jamaica’s north coast. Opened in 1981, the new enterprise featured an art gallery and, under separate management, a restaurant. Both were housed in a renovated, nineteenth-century Methodist manse. Harmony Hall Gallery’s programming included craft fairs and exhibitions of works by both trained, contemporary artists and those of the intuitives. Its intuitives presentations showcased the evolving themes and techniques in the work of such artists as Ras Dizzy, Woody Joseph, Albert Artwell, Evadney Cruickshank, Woody Joseph and others. It presented the work of such contemporary Jamaican artists as Eve Foster, Susan Shirley, Cecil Cooper, Christoper Gonzales and Gene Pearson.

In recent years, Annabella, who had become the longest-serving member of the NGJ’s board of directors and was well known in the Caribbean as an advocate for education and entrepreneurship in the craft field, began making her own assemblage art using sea shells and found objects. She is survived by Peter Proudlock; her daughter, Jessica Ogden, a fashion designer based in Paris; and her son, Sebastian Ogden, a director of an advertising company based in Kingston.

 

by Edward M Gómez

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