Written from the perspective that major art collections are important and revealing cultural artifacts and historical documents, this essay examines institutional, corporate, and private collection practices in post-independence Jamaica. The case studies illustrate how the history of art collecting in Jamaica mirrors the history of Jamaican art itself, as well as the changing ideas about art and culture as Jamaica moved from Independence in 1962 to the contemporary era. The case studies also help us to understand how wealth, power, class, race, and other social factors have operated and been contested in postcolonial Jamaica, generally, and in the specific context of the Jamaican art world.
Veerle Poupeye is a Belgian-Jamaican art historian, curator, critic, and cultural consultant specializing in Caribbean art. She was educated at the Universiteit Gent and Emory University. Her publications include Caribbean Art (1998; second revised and expanded edition, 2022) and various book chapters and exhibition catalogue essays on Jamaican and Caribbean art and culture. She has also contributed to journals such as Small Axe, Jamaica Journal, Caribbean Quarterly, and the New West Indian Review. She served as executive director of the National Gallery of Jamaica from 2009 to 2018 and previously worked there as a curator, and she has also lectured at the Edna Manley College.