Thursday 22 August, 2019

Rheima Hall is an artist of class, says PJ Patterson

(l-r) Former First Lady Rheima Hall and Sir Kenneth Hall, former Governor General of Jamaica, present a copy of “Rheima – A Selection of her works” to current First Lady Allen and Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica, at the launch of the book at the Jamaica Pegasus.

(l-r) Former First Lady Rheima Hall and Sir Kenneth Hall, former Governor General of Jamaica, present a copy of “Rheima – A Selection of her works” to current First Lady Allen and Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica, at the launch of the book at the Jamaica Pegasus.

Rheima Hall is an artist of class who deserves our highest esteem.  So declared PJ Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica as he officially launched “Rheima – A Selection of Her Works”, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel last Friday.

The book, includes some of the Jamaican landscapes, flora and fauna, still life and found objects, painted by Lady Rheima Hall, a former First Lady of Jamaica. 

Patterson said “it represents only a part of Rheima’s contribution to the role of art in the development of Jamaica.  She has spent over 30 years in Art Education as a teacher and more importantly as the first Principal of the Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts.  Her legacy is very evident in the artists she has nurtured as well as the development of the institutions that have become so vital to our cultural certitude.”

Former prime minsiter PJ Patterson described Lady Hall as an artist of class.

Noting Lady Hall’s “distinguished career as an educator, a leader of civil society and voluntary organizations”, Patterson said that among her many attributes is the painter’s brush which “releases creative genius, reveals her inner peace and seems to give her the ultimate form of self-fulfilment.”

He said that “one of the most distinctive aspects of the book which contains nearly 100 reproductions of Lady Hall’s artistic work: paintings, photographs, ceramics and doodles, is the choice of the subject matters and the unique way in which they have been painted…all inspired by her personal creativity for her own satisfaction.”

Amelia Scarlett accepts an autographed book from her grandmother Lady Rheima Hall at the launch of the book at the Jamaica Pegasus.

Writing in the foreword to the publication, Burchell Whiteman, a former Minister of Government in Jamaica said, “her artistic work has reflected an abiding love of nature, a discerning eye and a commitment to excellence which allow us to experience the wealth of beauty for ourselves.  She shares for our benefit, a depth of feeling and respect for the intricacies, subtleties and variety which the natural environment so generously affords us all, Jamaicans and visitors alike.  It is an artistic tour de force.”

Whiteman said that the works in the book “reflect a lifetime of keen observation, passion and perfection and love not only of scenic beauty but the beauty of our people and their occupations, their artistry in buildings, formal gardens, boats, all things beautiful and worthy of admiration over and over again.  We are indeed blessed by her decision to publish this selection of her works”, he declared.

Lady Hall, who has dedicated “Rheima – A Selection of her Works” to her husband, former Governor-General of Jamaica, Sir Kenneth Hall and her children – Gordon and Gillian Scarlett, noted in the book, “God’s work inspires me.  What he has produced, I am trying to reproduce.  I never paint for another person, so no one should come to me and ask me to paint something specific.  If you see something I have done and you like it, that’s wonderful.  But I am not asking for orders because every piece is really a work of love.”

She revealed that the book developed out of a conversation with Sir Kenneth who simply wanted to collect as many of her pieces of work in one place.

She said that during her years as a teacher and mother of young children, she had neither the time nor the peace of mind to do much drawing or painting.  As a result, she really began expressing herself, her thoughts and her love of nature in the early 1990s."

 “At that time I allowed myself to be immersed in the beauty of nature and to reflect on the elements that I had taught my students for so many years – the importance of looking carefully and really seeing the magnificence of creation.  The result is that I developed a deep sense of appreciation of so many aspects of nature – landscapes, flowers and aspects of the built environment within it”, she explained.

Lady Hall told the audience at the book launch, “in this book you will find scenes with which you can readily identify – The UWI, the Was Water River in the Castleton Gardens, Sommerset Falls in Portland, the Dolphin Head Mountains in Hanover, scenes of places that we have visited on vacation in Jamaica and overseas – Canada, Cuba, China, Japan, the Caribbean and Europe.  This book has allowed me to share my passion for nature and to encourage others to do the same.”

 

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