A bright bird for a Jamaican Christmas card – by artist Richard Nattoo

Richard Nattoo is one of those enquiring young artists, who can turn, with a flourish, from a delicate miniature of marine life in bright pinks and purples to a dark, deep forest or an austere, melancholy face emerging from an ocean. I met him recently (at a posh tea room at Devon House in Kingston called Lemongrass, and I would really recommend it) and we had a wonderful talk; please look out for my interview with Richard for Global Voices soon!

I am especially so happy for Richard’s bird paintings (although ornithologists should not expect them to always be very accurate depictions of particular species)… He just captures the spirit of birds, beautifully. I cannot find a picture of his “Chip Chip” or “Christmas bird” – the migratory American Redstart, which is a regular visitor to our garden, which was H&L’s 2020 Christmas card design.

Richard Nattoo’s design for the H&L Christmas card 2021

Now his work has been chosen by a large Jamaican company for their corporate Christmas card this year.

Here is the press release from Kingston Creative:

December 16, 2021, KINGSTON, JAMAICA–H&L today announced that it has collaborated with artist Richard Nattoo for a series of corporate cards as part of its continued support of emerging creative talent. This is the second year that Nattoo, whose works vary wildly in theme, content and style, has been selected by H&L following open calls for art held in partnership with Kingston Creative.

“At H&L, we believe that empowering creativity is essential to defining the Jamaican spirit. So we are thrilled to be once again working with Richard to spotlight both his amazing talent and his view of our island home,” said Marcus Richards, Managing Director, H&L.

Andrea Dempster Chung, Executive Director of Kingston Creative, was pleased about facilitating employment for artists through the second year of partnership with H&L. “We believe that local corporations intentionally hiring local creatives is a critical factor in growing our creative economy and accelerating the sector’s recovery post-COVID. We have a huge database of talented creatives from writers to visual artists, to musicians to dancers, and we are only too happy to be that bridge that connects large businesses to creative micro-entrepreneurs.”

For H&L, Nattoo has created a series of paintings of birds which he describes as the messengers of life. The first in the series is H&L’s 2021 Christmas card, for which Nattoo depicts a Redstart, or Chip Chip, on a poinsettia branch. “It is an honour to have the opportunity to work with H&L again. Their use of Jamaican art to communicate the sentiments of joy, compassion and gratitude is a huge positive for the local creative community, especially since these days it’s easier for brands and corporates to use stock images,” said Nattoo. “I appreciate being part of H&L storytelling and see this as a way to have more Jamaicans embracing art as part of their daily experience, not just something you view in a gallery.”  

Born in Spanish Town to a shopkeeper and an auto mechanic in 1993, Nattoo was always interested in colour, texture, form and shape. Lacking positive outlets for expression in his community, he was guarded about his love of art growing up. He quietly studied various influences, resulting in a style all his own. He is a graduate of the School of Architecture at the University of Technology Jamaica and recipient of the 2020 Prime Minister Youth Awards in Arts and Culture. In November, he presented his most recent work at a trio of shows titled “Tetrahedron”.

Richard Nattoo (and birds on his shirt – Scarlet Ibis, Flamingo, and a Cardinal, I believe!)

4 thoughts on “A bright bird for a Jamaican Christmas card – by artist Richard Nattoo

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