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National Gallery West, the Montego Bay branch of the National Gallery of Jamaica, is pleased to present Spirit of Budhai, an exhibition which explores the works of Cuban born artist, Neville Budhai (1928-2001). The opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, November 17, 2019, at 2:00 pm


Remembered by several Montegonians as a very humble, insightful man who enjoyed sharing his thoughts with the many visitors to his studio, Budhai diligently painted vibrant street scenes, historical landmarks and everyday life of cities he had travelled to and lived in. His extensive studies were born only of his quest for excellence and love of his art prior to settling in Jamaica.  He was awarded a scholarship courtesy of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to study in Spain where he studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, and the National School of Graphic Arts Madrid Spain.  He also pursued further artistic training in Paris, France at L’École Nationale Supérieure des Arts appliqués et des métiers d’art.


He settled in Jamaica during the early sixties and established an art studio in the city of Montego Bay, on Fort Street. Many local and international visitors stopped by his studio to view his art on their way to other destinations in and around town and eventually, he established the Budhai Art Gallery in Reading on the outskirts of Montego Bay.  Budhai’s paintings of market higglers, houses trimmed with wooden fretwork and historical landmarks were popular across Jamaica and they were an exemplary representation of Jamaica and its environs during the 1960s.  


Budhai, who spent most of his adult life in Jamaica, created colourful interpretations of past and present Jamaican life and eventually saw himself as a full-fledged Jamaican. He was the co-founder and first president of the Western Jamaica Society of Fine Arts and he received the Centenary Award from the Institute of Jamaica for his contribution to the development of art in Jamaica. Budhai’s practice and career has been inspirational for several Jamaican artists and he strongly believed that  Jamaican art was a key component to the development and enrichment of Jamaican culture and heritage. 


The opening reception of Spirit of Budhai at the National Gallery West is free and open to the public. All are cordially invited to attend. The exhibition will be on view until January 12, 2020. National Gallery West is located at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, Sam Sharpe Square.  Opening hours are: Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9am – 4:45pm. Admission fees apply on regular days. For more information Call: 876-940-6402, Email: montegobaycc@gmail.com, Website: montegobayculturalcentre.org 


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