Talented Jamaican Artist Ivorhod Walters Among Select Artists On Show at National Gallery West Exhibition

Nineteen year old Rusea’s High student and St. James resident Ivorhod Walters is among a select group of artists participating in the second staging of Due West, National Gallery West’s annual exhibition. Due West, a submission-based exhibition, which had its opening on January 19 runs through to April 11, 2020.

Talented Jamaican Artist Ivorhod Walters Among Select Artists On Show at National Gallery West Exhibition 3
According to Monique Gilpin, Assistant Curator, National Gallery West, the exhibition gives artists an opportunity to gain professional experience by participating in a juried art exhibition. “This exhibition is about giving talented, emerging and professional artists from Western Jamaica a platform to launch or develop their careers as contemporary artists from the Caribbean. This initiative aids in the further development of the arts in a community where it is seemingly lacking. This is why it was created.  I hope that this show will encourage more artists to answer the next open call for Due West, rekindling the energy that was created by its precedent, the Western Jamaica Society of Fine Arts exhibition,” noted Gilpin.

Talented Jamaican Artist Ivorhod Walters Among Select Artists On Show at National Gallery West Exhibition 2
Above: Graphite pencil on cartridge paper drawing ‘Rastaman’s God’ (2019) by Ivorhod Walters

For Due West, Jamaican artists both local and within the Jamaican Diaspora submitted works for consideration. After the adjudication, a mixture of paintings, photography, audio visual art, fiber art, mixed media and sculpture were selected. Among the featured artists: Indie Allen, Greg Bailey, Krystal Ball, Esther Chin, Andrew Duhaney, Andrea Jadusingh, Kate Moyston, David Pinto, Naomi Redway, Nathan Robb, Deon Simone, P.J. Stewart, Trisannia Watson and Ivorhod Walters.

Talented Jamaican Artist Ivorhod Walters Among Select Artists On Show at National Gallery West Exhibition 1
Above: Sculpture piece entitled – ‘Before They Came’ (2019) by Ivorhod Walters, now on display at Due West at National Gallery West in Montego Bay

Walters is among 14 artists selected following a call for entries which was sent out to the public in September 2019 inviting all artists, amateur and professional, residing in or originally from Western Jamaica, to submit their works for consideration. Originally from the Hanover, but currently residing in St. James, the multitalented teen is elated to be among the artists selected to show their work. “As a young artist on the rise it’s a great experience to be a part of the National Gallery West ‘Due West’ exhibition, as it allows upcoming and established artists from Jamaica to showcase new works of art that are currently being produced in the country,” noted Walters.

He credits his mentor Kirkland Clarke, a teacher at Rusea’s High School, also an established fine artist for the guidance in developing his burgeoning career. Last year, Walters obtained a distinction in Art in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE). Ivorhod enjoys creating new works of art while painting, drawing, sculpting, taking photographs and doing textile design. He deals with a wide variety of subject matters in his drawings, but prefers to draw portraits as they offer the challenges that he so desires as an artist.

When asked about the work on display, described as a reductive sculpture, Walters said the medium used to create the piece is Plaster of Paris which took him several weeks to complete and required a lot of patience. “The piece currently on display at the National Gallery West is a sculpture entitled ‘Before They Came’, it was inspired by a book by Ivan van Sertima entitled They Came Before Columbus where the author noted that Columbus didn’t first visit the Caribbean but instead Africans. The piece depicts a bronze African stone head with the African symbols God and wisdom inscribed on both sides of the ears,” stated Walters.

An artist for almost four years now, Walters points out that it has not been easy getting to this stage, admitting that the body of work he’s now creating are from years of practice. “I took a whole year practicing and learning to draw portraits in order to produce the work I have. Many of the pieces are of great value as they demand a lot of patience and sleepless nights to create,” stressed Walters.

Currently, a final year sixth form student at Rusea’s High, Walters notes that balancing academics and art is a struggle, as both are time consuming, however, he says that through proper time management he has been able to continuously excel in both areas.

Walters, whose career ambition is to become an artist while pursuing a career in criminal law, cites Kirkland Clarke, artist, mentor and art teacher as the person largely responsible for influencing his style. “He taught me everything I know artistically,” noted Walters.

The multifaceted teen who enjoys hanging out at Bulls Bay Beach in Hanover, lists ackee and saltfish, as his favorite food. Given all the competing demands for his time, the busy and versatile teen artist believes that in order to stay focus in today’s society one has to be adamant and fixated on the goal ahead, while strategically making good use of the time. “For young people who wish to embark on a career path in art my advice to you is to not be afraid to try new things and showcase your work in your own unique style as “the art must go on,” emphasized Walters.