Art is an everyday feature of the University of the West Indies (UWI)’s Regional Headquarters building, home of the UWI Museum. And while the historic evolution of the university is the main focus inside the museum, the multi-faceted celebration of people, places and ideas through artistic expression extends outward into the building’s other public spaces.
Temporary art exhibitions have become something of a feature of the lobby area, drawing attention from employees and visitors. However the walls also house a growing permanent collection, seeded by a bequest of late Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Rex Nettleford. Additions have included a painting by Trinidadian artist Glenn Roopchand, who participated in an art exhibition, held at the RHQ to celebrate 50 years of independence of Trinidad & Tobago.
In April, five works by UWI lecturer and artist Clinton Hutton were donated, with Hutton urging the university to work to build the best collection of Caribbean visual artistic expression.
“Art as a way of thinking, knowing and doing…art as philosophy…the university should play a role in that…” Hutton said.
The temporary exhibitions have included a show put on by the Jamaica Guild of Artists, a December exhibition of work by artists Kitwana and Atira Robinson, and an April exhibition by lecturer turned painter Earl McKenzie. The RHQ has also become the home to a small changing gallery space managed by a small group of Jamaican painters who were members of the Guild. An agreement with the UWI Regional HQ allows them a space to showcase some of their work, with a small commission coming to the UWI Museum. Additionally, the East Corridor between the museum and the UWI Archives, currently is home to an exhibition recalling Rex Nettleford, the first UWI Vice-Chancellor to have been a graduate of the institution.