R.I.P. Dawn Scott, 1951–2010

by Nicholas Laughlin on September 21, 2010

Dawn Scott, 1985

Dawn Scott working on A Cultural Object in 1985. Photograph courtesy the National Gallery of Jamaica

Dawn Scott, Jamaican artist, died on Tuesday 21 September in Kingston.

The National Gallery of Jamaica posted an obituary:

Figurative batik was Dawn Scott’s main medium for some twenty years, culminating in her solo exhibition Nature Vive (1994) at the Grosvenor Galleries in Kingston. By far her most impactful exhibition, however, was her contribution to Six Options: Gallery Spaces Transformed (1985), the National Gallery’s (and Jamaica’s) first exhibition of installation art. On this occasion, she produced A Cultural Object, a haunting, spiral-shaped “zinc fence” structure which transposed some of the realities of Jamaica’s inner city life into the gallery spaces of the National Gallery.

A Cultural Object, in permanent display in the NGJ’s contemporary galleries, is a powerful and disturbing work that continues to influence younger Jamaican artists, most recently Ebony G. Patterson, whose Cultural Soliloquy (Cultural Object Revisited) (2010) was included in the Young Talent V exhibition at the National Gallery.

In later years, Scott taught at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and worked as a fashion, interior, stage, and set designer. In 1999 she was awarded a Bronze Musgrave Medal for her contribution to Jamaican visual art. The citation read, in part:

Hers is a humanist art in which the human figure takes central stage. Her social concerns are reflected in her dignified but graphic depictions of the life of the working class.

Detail of A Cultural Object (1985), by Dawn ScottDetail of A Cultural Object (1985), by Dawn Scott. Photograph by Nicholas Laughlin

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Fragano Ledgister September 22, 2010 at 8:06 am

Dawn has been my friend for thirty-five years, since I first met her when I was an undergraduate at Mona in 1975. Her commitment to her art, and her love of her country and the Caribbean were both extraordinary. I feel that there is a hole in the world.

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