Mon | Jun 1, 2020

Rheima Hall an artist of class

Published:Sunday | August 11, 2019 | 12:00 AM
From left: Former First Lady Rheima Hall and Sir Kenneth Hall, former Governor General of Jamaica, present a copy of ‘Rheima – A Selection of her works’ to current First Lady Allen and Sir Patrick, governor general of Jamaica, at the launch of the book at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
Amelia Scarlett (left) accepts an autographed book from her grandmother, Lady Rheima Hall, at the launch of the book.

“Rheima Hall is an artist of class who deserves our highest esteem,” declared the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson, former prime minister of Jamaica, as he officially launched Rheima – A Selection of Her Works at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel last month.

The book includes some of the Jamaican landscapes, flora and fauna, still life and found objects, painted by Lady Rheima Hall, a former first lady of Jamaica. The book represents only a part of her contribution to the role of art in the development of Jamaica. With over 30 years in art education as a teacher and as the first principal of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, her legacy is very evident in the artists she has nurtured, as well as the development of the institutions that have become so vital to our cultural certitude.

Noting Lady Hall’s distinguished career, Patterson noted that among her many attributes is the painter’s brush which “releases creative genius, reveals her inner peace and seems to give her the ultimate form of self-fulfilment”.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the book which contains nearly 100 reproductions of Lady Hall’s artistic work – paintings, photographs, ceramics and doodles – is the choice of the subject matters and the unique way in which they have been painted were all inspired by her personal creativity for her own satisfaction.

An abiding love of nature

Writing in the foreword to the publication, Burchell Whiteman, a former minister of Government in Jamaica said, “Her artistic work has reflected an abiding love of nature, a discerning eye and a commitment to excellence which allow us to experience the wealth of beauty for ourselves. She shares for our benefit, a depth of feeling and a respect for the intricacies, subtleties and variety which the natural environment so generously affords us all, Jamaicans and visitors alike. It is an artistic tour de force.”

Lady Hall, who has dedicated Rheima – A Selection of her Works to her husband, former Governor General of Jamaica Sir Kenneth Hall and her children, Gordon and Gillian Scarlett, noted in the book, “God’s work inspires me. What He has produced, I am trying to reproduce. I never paint for another person, so no one should come to me and ask me to paint something specific. If you see something I have done and you like it, that’s wonderful. But I am not asking for orders because every piece is really a work of love.

In Lady Hall’s book, you will find scenes from The UWI, the Wag Water River in the Castleton Gardens, Somerset Falls in Portland, the Dolphin Head Mountains in Hanover, and many more scenes from Jamaica and abroad. “This book has allowed me to share my passion for nature and to encourage others to do the same.” she shared.