Courtney A. Hogarth's Blog

Courtney A. Hogarth

Courtney A. Hogarth
Beijing, China
January 16
Courtney A. Hogarth holds a Ph.D. in Classical Chinese Painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Hogarth is a graduate of Edna Manley College – School of Visual Arts, in Kingston, Jamaica. He came to China out of a profound interest in Chinese Philosophy and Culture, to pursue studies in Classical Chinese Painting, Chinese Philosophy and Culture. He endeavours to exercise respect for the wisdom and traditions of the people with whom he co-inhabits the earth. It is out of the desire to interpret and share what he feels as an individual that Hogarth creates, utilizing visual imagery and the written word. Hogarth’s paintings have been exhibited at the China National Art Museum, National Gallery of Jamaica, Sunshine Museum, the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Grosvenor Galleries, Revolution Galleries and the Jamaica Tourist Board. In 2004 he curated his first solo exhibition in Jamaica. Titled ‘Spirit of The brush – Courtney Hogarth Looks at China’ it presented the Jamaican audience with ink paintings inspired by life in China. In 2006 Hogarth, along with four Chinese artists, created an exhibition titled ‘Cocoon’ at the newly established Jamaican Embassy in Beijing. In celebration of 35 years of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China, Hogarth curated and participated in an exhibition titled ‘Journeys’ in November 2007. In his native Jamaica, he has been the subject of several newspaper and magazine articles, radio and television programmes. Hogarth has a unique interest in the literary world, writes poetry and prose dealing with the human condition, celebrating life, and questioning our journey as a nomadic race in the quest to find love and belonging. In 1994 he entered an essay competition sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). His entry titled: “Youth and the Struggle for Social and Economic Development in Latin America and the Caribbean” was awarded first place, qualifying him Jamaica’s representative to an international youth forum held in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1995. Additionally, he has been the recipient of several awards and scholarships, among them: the C.L. Stuart Award for Academic Excellence, the Mutual Life Foundation Scholarship, the Chinese Overseas Scholarship and the Distinguished Foreign Scholar’s Scholarship from the Government of China. In February 2009, the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, invited Hogarth to deliver the inaugural lecture of the newly established Confucius Institute. Here he spoke on: “Language, Learning and the Future”. In China, Hogarth’s work has been reviewed on China Central Television (CCTV 9), China Education Television (CETV), included in exhibitions of the Central Academy, and published in ‘Configuration Multiply’ by Professor Hu Ming Zhe, of the Central Academy, in which she described his drawings as “…a seeming tropical breeze…” Additionally, his paintings are to be found in private collections in several countries and have also been collected by the Chinese Embassy in Jamaica, the Jamaican Embassy in China, and the Ministry of Education, Jamaica. Over the course of several summers Hogarth designed and taught drawing courses at the Edna Manley College – School of Visual Arts. In 2009 Hogarth was invited to deliver a series of lectures on “Jamaican Art” at the Beijing Institute of Education. One of his guiding philosophies is that the breadth of the world equals the individual’s mental space. Hogarth believes that artists ought to contribute to the creation of an environment allowing for visual interpretation to be accorded to dreams and ideas. This will, in turn, dictate how as creative individuals we communicate our visions to humanity – adding strength and impetus to that universal impulse seeking to forge a more harmonious, habitable environment.


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SEPTEMBER 25, 2011 1:44PM

Black Earth – Artist’s Remarks

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(Olympia Gallery)
September 22, 2011

Dr. Velma Pollard, moderator
H.E. Mr. Zheng Qingdian, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica
Professor Gordon Shirley, Pro-Vice Chancellor & Principal, UWI, Mona
Mrs. Rosemary Thwaites, gallery owner and our gracious host
Ladies and gentlemen

It is rather unusual for me to speak, at any length, at the opening of my own exhibition, except to extend gratitude to those parties integral in its creation. Yet I think it prudent that I say a few words at this time.

I would like to extend sincere gratitude to those individuals who contributed to the creation of Black Earth. They are the staff of Olympia Gallery, headed by Rosemary Thwaites, Grace Kennedy Limited, the Chinese Embassy in Kingston and by extension, Ambassador Zheng Qingdian, China Harbour, Island Dairies Limited, Dr. Brian Morgan, Professor Gordon Shirley, and Dr. Velma Pollard.

Especial thanks to Mr. Walter Lewis, who worked tirelessly at the graphics.

In China I would like to extend thanks to Dr. Du Juemin, Dr. Lv Peng and Mr. Wang Shuo.

Ever since that moment I took material in hand, whether to try and sculpt in wood as a twelve year old, to trace lines of my dreams on wasted bits of paper, or to make sense of bodies inhabiting my existence with pencil and sketchbook, I have always known and felt deeply that this was a tremendous undertaking. It is tremendous for that depth of spirit and high level of dedication it demands, for the life-changing effect it is bound to have, if taken seriously, and for the fact that not only does it move the person who creates, but also moves the beholder.

This ‘calling from the soul’ that Art is, asks that we create from depth and purity of self, wherein lies no fear, malice, bigotry, prejudice or any of those devices that we create as human beings to tear ourselves one from the other. Art demands all that we have to give – our hands, bodies and most importantly our hearts. The heart, when comtemplated deeply, is the seat of that knowledge of self. This self-knowledge leads to wisdon, which leads to an understanding of other people. This leads, in turn, to tolerance and ultimately a better, more wholesome society.

Art is able to do all these things, if understood in the context of that society searching for a sense of place and purpose and personhood.

My journey to China was indeed timely, for I entered that old culture and the Central Academy of Fine Arts, at a time when those teachers who are now in their sixties, seventies and eighties were still there. That depth of soul, informed by the years of experience they had, further informed by their individual understanding of an ancient, arcane and complex civilization, benefited me in innumerable ways. It would take too long to relate this story. Suffice it to say that through them I have ancestors in masters such as Ba Da Shan Ren, Ren Bonian, Jiang Zhaohe, Pan Tianshou and Ye Qianyu.

In my life there have been three or four beautiful experiences:

I once entered a field of vast expanse, level to the very horizon, clothed in a carpet of yellow blossoms as far as the eyes could see. I thought I had woken up on the fringe of the sun, no longer fiery, but transformed into some tangible, viscous, elemental sea, from whence my dreams could float out to the entire universe.

Walking through a rice field in Southern China, an old, wooden house, sat in silent embrace of the earth; seemed, in fact, to have sprung – naturally and without artifice – out of its yellow depths. The poetry of ages clung in copious measure to her walls, eaves and ceilings. I was stopped in my tracks. On that day everything was right about its slight dilapidation. All elements converged to create its beautiful age. I was invited in by a peasant family who shared tea and conversation, as though I was an old friend they had not seen for a long time.

While in art school, returning to Kingston from Ocho Rios, via St. Mary, I happened upon the sea lashing a large boulder some five hundred metres away from shore, framed by distant mountains, blurred by a sudden spray, illumined by the soon setting sun. All of me merged with the natural world that afternoon, and language failed. I whispered in the silence of my soul.

These works which hang before you today are my second flesh, my soul and sight transformed.

I would not seek to decorate your life, yet would I seek to beautify it. I have always believed that the wealth of any nation must reside in the spiritual wealth of its artists. And this is where showing my work is important for me. Sometimes I wish to hasten the day in which my own people shall understand this more fully.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you.

Courtney A. Hogarth, Ph.D.
September 21, 2011

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