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John Dunkley and Paa Joe at American Folk Art Museum, NY

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until February 24, 2019

Just opened in New York: "John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night" is the first exhibition of the work of the legendary Jamaican Intuitive John Dunkley (1891–1947) ever presented outside his native country. Featuring rarely seen, atmospheric paintings, its catalogue features an in-depth essay by the late David Boxer, the former, longtime director and chief curator of the National Gallery of Jamaica.

Also on view: "Paa Joe: Gates of No Return", a selection of architectural models by the Ghanaian artist Paa Joe representing extant castles and forts on West Africa’s Gold Coast.

American Folk Art Museum
2 Lincoln Square, New York, NY 10023
folkartmuseum.org

From American Folk Art Museum's website:

John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night

John Dunkley (1891–1947) is widely considered to be one of Jamaica’s most important artists. This first exhibition of his oeuvre outside of his native country creates an international context for its appreciation. Composed of forty-five works, it includes his paintings from the 1930s and 1940s, which are primarily landscapes defined by their distinctive dark palette and psychologically suggestive underpinnings, alongside rare carved wood and stone figurative sculptures. Dunkley was working at a pivotal time in Jamaica’s history, contributing to the formation of an independent nation. His life and work provide insight into the broader economic and social factors, as well as the popular culture, that defined this era in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night is organized by Pérez Art Museum Miami and sponsored by Davidoff Art Initiative. It is curated by Diana Nawi with Nicole Smythe-Johnson; Dr. David Boxer served as curatorial advisor; Valérie Rousseau, curator, Self-Taught Art and Art Brut, American Folk Art Museum, is the coordinating curator. A 224-page illustrated catalog (English and Spanish) is available.

Paa Joe: Gates of No Return

Accra-based artist and craftsman Paa Joe (b. 1947), known for his figurative coffins that draw from the traditional Ghanaian custom of abebuu adekai, gained international recognition in seminal presentations like Magicians of the Earth (Pompidou, 1989). This exhibition presents a unique series of large-scale painted wood sculptures commissioned in 2004 and 2005—architectural models of Gold Coast castles and forts that served as way stations for more than six million Africans sold into slavery and sent to the Americas and the Caribbean between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Once forced through these “Gates of No Return,” they started an irreversible, perilous journey during which many died. This production alludes to Paa Joe’s coffins, seen as vessels ferrying the dead in the afterlife, speaking to spirits separated from bodies in trauma. Archival documents and recordings accompany the show.

Curator: Valérie Rousseau, curator, Self-Taught Art and Art Brut, American Folk Art Museum