The Dudus Chronicles by Hubert Neal, Jr.

The dudus chronicles shows a foreigner’s perspective on an incident that threatens to be a nine-day wonder and quickly forgotten by Jamaicans. The show chronicles such moments from the soldiers moving into Tivoli Gardens to Dudus allegedly peeing himself.

The Dudus Chronicles exhibition

The Dudus Chronicles is a body of work I’ve had the opportunity to watch  as it took root and developed in front of my eyes. The first few artworks were created at Roktowa in downtown Kingston around the corner from Tivoli Gardens in the days following the breaching of Tivoli. As i wrote at the time:

The Hunt for Dudus has inspired Belizean artist Hubert Neal Jr., who arrived in the island on May 20, just before ‘Operation Take Dudus Alive’ unfurled. Neal, an artist in residence at Roktowa on Pechon Street around the corner from Coronation Market and Tivoli Gardens found himself the recipient of an unlikely studio visit a few days ago when three groups of soldiers decided to patrol the old Red Stripe Brewery where he works along with the Haitian artists who are part of the ‘Trembling Heart’ project.

The soldiers allowed themselves to be detained by Neal’s painting in progress, titled–what else–The Hunt for Dudus. They questioned him closely about his representation of the storming of Tivoli, disapproving of the low number of soldiers depicted (see photos above and below).

When unforeseen circumstances forced Hubert to flee uptown, he continued producing the body of work at my place; finally the public gets to view the paintings at Grosvenor Galleries this weekend.

The video below shows Hubert Neal Jr strolling through downtown Kingston on a busy Saturday morning; the footage was taken with a flip video by Varun Baker.

ONGR (On the Ground News Reports) posted the information about Hubert’s show on Facebook generating an amusing string of comments. See below:
On the Ground News Reports: Confirmed: A Belizean artist, Hubert Neal Jr, has launched an art exhibition entitled “The Dudus Chronicles” showing his artistic perspective on the incursion into Tivoli Gardens leading up to the capture of Christopher Coke. It will be held at Grosvenor Gallery, Kingston on August 21 at 7pm.

C T got to go see this

Venice but a wha dis?

TriAnna cacafaut

Sean sweetheart, you took the words right out of my mouth

Christina a wonder if dudus copyright/trademark him name?

Thelma Talking about thinking outside the box!

Bicknell lol… i wanna see this

Leon Hehehe

Lori a wha this father……. hehehehe

Dominic c…is a man weh noe fi mek money dat! all d while a d foreigners dem come inna we country n mek money…dem smarter dan we!

Natasha he needs to create a Facebook invite!! I will def be going….think it’s safe? DWL!!

Javaughn yow trust me dudus is a legend

Shauna When this transpired, I said to myself historians and artists will have a field day and so said so done.

Ingrid poor Dudus all when him lock up inna prison people still a use him fi money.

Tanya I may just go check this out.

Lisa OTGNR mussy get a smalls fi put up post bout Dudus cause every week wi get a dose a Dudus medicine! Everyday a Dudus Dudus mi tiad now man!

Annie: Funny how everyone assumes this is an attempt to make money rather than an artist’s response, would you say the same if someone wrote a story about all this? It’s easier to sell paintings of flowers and pleasant scenery by the way than something really relevant only to a relatively small group of people, ie, Jamaicans…

Natalie @ Annie – I was trying to figure out what to say in response to those comments. Do I give a mini-lecture on the role of art in societies, that has nothing to do with painting pretty pictures; do I say that not everything has a dollar valu…e nor does everyone use their skills purely and onlyfor the sake of making money; or do I say, why don’t you just stop and think for a second: is it possible that there is more to say about and more ways to talk about Dudus as a phenomenon than what has been written and spoken so far? And if so, shouldn’t your attitude be one of curiosity instead of being dismissive? So, I decided not to respond.

Annie LOL Nat it’s baffling isn’t it, if not depressing, so all the DJs who’ve sung about Dudus only doing it for the money too?

Author: Annie Paul

writer, editor and avid tweeter anniepaulose@gmail.com

7 thoughts on “The Dudus Chronicles by Hubert Neal, Jr.”

  1. I don’t think many Jamaicans – or the DJs themselves – consider DJs artists! Especially since DJs exhibit this money hungry behaviour to buy the ever popular house on a hill and fancy cyar, often doing what sells instead of or more than the truly gut gripping, provocative song. Then again, isn’t that a portrait of society?

  2. I went to the opening. A couple of Jamaicans (none there) were a little disturbed by the fact that a foreigner was coming to comment on the dirty, underbelly of Jamaican society, especially since we always get such flack internationally. I have to disagree though, Jamaicans have short memories and even in the moment we are often de-sensitized. ‘So dons are supported by politicians… mi tyad fi hear, but who yu tink ago win Rising Stars?’ At the exhibit I was struck by all these images, referencing things that I know but just don’t think about. I had to view it in short bursts, because I found it overwhelming. Sometimes we don’t want to see. I didn’t find the work offensive at all, just brave, art should make you think, should make you uncomfortable. Paintings of pretty flowers are not art, they’re decoration. It doesn’t have to match the drapes to be valuable. That’s my two cents, big up Hubert for lending his eyes.

    1. Thanks for this Nicole. yes it surprised me that there was one friend there who found the work ‘offensive’; her complaint was that it ‘trivialized’ the trauma of Tivoli. but of course nothing could be farther from the truth, having seen the entire body of work develop under my eyes i know how untrue such accusations are…

      Big up Hubert indeed, also for showing that art can reach the main section of the newspapers if it deals with what’s going on around us here, rather than pontificate from lofty heights that no one can fathom.

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