Jamaican Artist

Dawn Scott


Dawn Scott was an artist whose creative spirit knew no bounds, although she exhibited professionally, her art was not been confined to museums and galleries, instead her works can be found throughout all walks of life in restaurants, shops, offices and tourist resorts at home and abroad. Dawn Scott was at once a textile and installation artist, as well as a designer of home interiors, theatre sets and fashion.

A restless spirit, during the 1970s she refused to be pigeon-holed and began working in various media for personal satisfaction, exhibition as well as to make a living. Initially, it was her textiles that brought her public acclaim. Her deft handling of this wax resist technique and her ability to reproduce images that displayed her draftsmanship transformed this sometimes overlooked art form into fine art. Scott also brought a new regard to the notion of a local aesthetic. At a time when Jamaicans were being encouraged to ‘tun yu han mek fashion’ she was in the forefront of artists who were producing items locally that were wholly Jamaican in look and feel.

In the 1980s Dawn Scott was invited to participate in Six Options an exhibition of Installations mounted at the National Gallery of Jamaica. The art work that resulted A Cultural Object, (1985) became a disturbing icon for that decade and a centerpiece of the National Gallery’s permanent collection. Its interior mimics the lanes of Kingston’s derelict communities, replete with detritus, graffiti and the political posters and slogans that marred that era. At the heart of it there is a statement that points to the state of homelessness and hopelessness that is so much a part of Jamaica’s modern day experience. As described in the citation for her 1999 Musgrave Medal Award:“Hers is a humanist art in which the human figure takes central stage. Her social concerns are reflected in her dignified but graphic depictions of the life of the working class. This interest culminated in the mixed media installation “A Cultural Object’, a cleverly orchestrated recreation of the realities of inner city life in Kingston and one of the most powerful social statements ever made in Jamaican art.” 

The scale of Scott’s work would be established through this major work and during the 1990s she moved to even larger projects designing stage and film sets and designing interiors for offices, projects such as Noel Cowards Home ‘Firefly’ and even resorts such as Chris Blackwell’s Island Village in Ocho Rios and his numerous hotels throughout the Caribbean.Despite her range, Scott's work is consistent, stamped with a sense of individuality and creativity that is rooted in the Caribbean experience. Her commitment to a local aesthetic made her one of the most respected and sought after artists/designers in the region. Scott died in October 2010.