Acrylic on cotton, 74x122 cm
Stafford Schliefer, self-taught artist, born in Kingston, Jamaica, has been painting professionally since the age of 28. When asked what motivated him to paint, Schliefer simply says that painting was like breathing for him. His career began humbly, by exhibiting his art on the hotel strips in Kingston and Montego Bay. Recognition from art critics and awards from the Jamaica Festival Arts Commission and Institute of Jamaica allowed his work to move off the streets and into the art galleries and museums.
Schliefer’s art is thematically mixed, including erotica, cultural traditions, and socio-political themes, executed in acrylics, oils, watercolour, mixed-media collage, and drawings. His paintings articulate distinctive styles, with the use of figuration and abstract expressionism. A substantial part of Schliefer’s art expresses his personal confrontation with the conditions of poverty and violence in the society.
Since his first exhibitions (Jamaica Festival of Fine Arts-1969, first solo show-1971), Schliefer has exhibited continuously, in Canada, the United States, Germany, but most of all in Jamaica. His work has been in the National Annual/Biennial Exhibitions at the National Gallery of Jamaica consistently since inception in 1984. Solo exhibits in Jamaica include shows at the Mutual Life Gallery (1983-2012), the Contemporary Artists’ Association (1989), Mint Galleries (2002). His latest shows include solo-show ‘Potpourri’ (2013) and ‘New Work by the Masters: Alexander Cooper and Stafford Schliefer’ (Mutual Gallery, 2012). His participation in international exhibits includes solo shows at the Mohave Museum of History and Art (1978, 1981), and group exhibits such as Caribbean Visions (toured USA 1995-98); Jamaican Contemporary Painters, Galerie Malraux, California, 1991; Second Annual Atlanta Life Exhibition, 1982; 1976 United States Postal Service Bicentennial Art Contest (Phoenix, AZ); Jamaica National Art Collection (toured Boston-Miami, 1973); Three Decades of Jamaican Painting (Commonwealth Institute, London, 1971); Eleventh Biennial of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1971; A Generation of Jamaican Art in Ontario, Canada and Georgia (1969). Over the years, various Jamaican Prime Ministers have selected his work as official gifts to the late Pope John Paul, former Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, US President Bill Clinton and South African President Nelson Mandela.