A rendering of the museum renovated by David Adjaye.
PHOTO: © VIDAL DOWNING, ATELIER VIDAL LIMITED
Rachael Barrett at _space jamaica in Kingston
PHOTO: NILE SAULTER
By KATHERINE BERNARD
Dec. 3, 2015 2:11 p.m. ET
WHILE WORKING AS an art advisor in London, Rachael Barrett, 33, used to return to her native Jamaica to seek refuge from the circuit of art fairs that crowded her calendar. But the more she felt at home in the art world, the more its separation from her home in the Caribbean became apparent. Jamaican-born artists whose work she loved, like sculptor Nari Ward, were folded into American culture, but their work was largely unknown in the Caribbean. In 2013, Barrett decided to move back to Kingston and to create a museum that would showcase contemporary work from the pan-Caribbean diaspora.
On December 4, _space jamaica—the Caribbean’s first museum dedicated to contemporary art—will open its doors in a space renovated by architect David Adjaye on the historic Henzell family estate in Kingston. The turn-of-the-century house’s original frame and mottled tile are complemented by modern, open-air pavilions. The museum will put on two shows annually, timed to coincide with the Kingston on the Edge Urban Art Festival in June and Art Basel Miami Beach in December, which will be bolstered by educational programming for both children and adults. The first exhibition, I Feel Like a Citizen—a Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective—will focus on Basquiat’s roots in the Caribbean, introducing his work to the community. “What I’d love to see is a child of 8 now growing up knowing they can always pass by a gallery on the weekend an walk in and sit there,” Barrett says. “That the space and the work are theirs to experience.”