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‘Nuff respect’, as Norris goes ‘up close, below the surface’

‘Nuff respect’, as Norris goes ‘up close, below the surface’

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Twelve years after she held her last exhibition, multitalented artist Josette Norris has done it again.{{more}}

This time around, the goldsmith, painter, photographer and designer, among other titles, says that she is more satisfied with the outcome of her two-week presentation under the theme “Up close, below the surface and nuff respect,” which came to a close mid-December.

“The last one traumatized me so much, I kept saying I don’t want to have any more,” Norris told SEARCHLIGHT on the final day of her exhibition.

“I just felt it was the time to hold another one,” she explained.

The Pembroke resident held her “invitation only” exhibition not too far from home, which gave others in the area, along with private clients, an opportunity to get a glimpse of what she has been doing over the past few years.

The reviews in her guest book tell of admiration of the work she produced, with adjectives such as “fantastic”, “exquisite”, “enthralling”, “awesome”, and “world class” filling its pages.

Comments also included: “What a discovery for me! Your art spoke to my spirit in many ways” and “words are inadequate to express my appreciation for this bevy of professional artistry, which is second to none,” and “If you weren’t already able to express yourself in words so well, your art would do all the talking.”

Pointing out that she cannot remember a time when she had not been a painter, Norris said that she has been painting professionally for the past 30 years of her undisclosed age.

She honed her creative skills at the Edna Manley School of Art (previously the Jamaica School of Art), and has had her pieces displayed in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Paris, Washington D.C., as well as here at home.

The self-employed artist works from her home studio, producing local craft and jewelry under the trade name Bijoux Josette, with her creations fashioned from gold, silver, base metals and gemstones, shells, local stones bamboo and leather.

Her inspiration for her paintings and watercolours comes largely from Carib petroglyphs, as well as old sites and simple architecture.

Although some of her paintings and pieces of jewelry are for sale, Norris indicated that if she could keep them all, she would.

Describing herself as a sporadic artist, who can paint for hours on end if uninterrupted, Norris said it was difficult to impossible, to choose a “favourite” piece.

“I don’t have a favourite; they are all special. It’s like asking somebody about their favourite child. I can’t do the favourite one; it really is like a person having a bunch of children and somebody says “which child you like best?” Most parents can’t tell; they would say they probably like their children for different reasons, which is true. I don’t have that problem (as a parent), I only have one favourite one.”

Norris is the mother of one child, Samara, an artist in her own right; culinary, that is.

She declined to describe the dozens of artwork which lined the walls of the showroom, claiming that “they are what they say to you.”

Except for one.

Standing in front of a painting of internationally renowned jazz musician and poet, Vincentian Ellsworth “Shake” Keane, and one his literally broken records, Norris indicated that this was one of the pieces on display that held special significance for her.

“I did this because I admired the man; he was a friend of mine. When he did that poem on Soufriere, he actually read part of it for me before he published it.

“And then an odd thing happened. My grandmother, when she came home from the (United) States, she had one of these old gramophones, and we were kids, we used to take the records and throw them like frisbees. No doubt we broke this one.

“As the years passed and we were clearing out mummy’s house and I came across couple boxes with the same old records and I saw she had this one by Shake Keane, and it just kind of came together.”

Norris said that the chances that she would have another exhibition any time soon are slim, but she has not completely written off the idea.

She said that she was grateful for the attendance and support she received at the just concluded showing, and that she was glad that she was able to bring some “intellect” to the art form, which she believes is lacking.

“I think we have gotten more creatively ignorant in the last 12 years than I have ever thought possible, (but) I am happy that I did this, and there are people that really appreciated it, and what makes me happy is that people, when they come here, they actually feel lifted; it was an experience that inspired, it brought something to their day and that is what made me feel satisfied.”

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