The Institute of Jamaica recognizes Donnette Ingrid Zacca for outstanding merit in the field of Art.
Born in St James in 1957, Donnette Zacca’s sojourn into photography began when she acquired her first camera while a ninth-grade student at the Mount Alvernia High School in Montego Bay. As a young country girl with a camera, she was driven to explore and discover a myriad of outdoor spaces – a practice that continues to this day as she travels to various locations across the island to capture scenes of natural beauty and sometimes otherworldly intrigue. She also produced portraiture, though mainly as a means of earning pocket money to support her new hobby.
From 1976 to 1980, Zacca attended the Jamaica School of Art, which is now part of the Edna Manley College, where she attained a Diploma in Art Education and Graphic Design. During these studies, she excelled in Photography, experimenting with a variety of shooting and printing techniques, including how to superimpose multiple photographic images within the same composition. After graduating, she continued her explorations, eventually developing an image-making technique of her own which she has called ‘marbling’.
In the late 1980s, she continued her photographic education, beginning with a course on Basic Architecture and Archaeological Photography, offered in Port Royal by the University of London (1987 – 1988). From 1988 to 1989, supported by scholarship from the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), she attended the University of Cincinnati where she undertook studies in alternative and advanced photographic techniques. From 2000 to 2004, she pursued and acquired a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Donnette Zacca has been exhibiting as a fine art photographer since the mid-1980s. Notable exhibitions in which she has maintained a consistent presence include the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) National Photographic Competitions and the Annual National and Biennial exhibitions of the National Gallery of Jamaica. She has also held a number of solo exhibitions, most memorable among them the Issues in Fertility exhibition at the Mutual Gallery in 2008. Her work is well represented in private as well as public collections.
Additionally, Donnette Zacca has contributed her photographic expertise to many national organizations, including the National Environmental and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Jamaica Environmental Trust (JET). She has received important commissions, including the creation of twelve stamps for the Jamaica Postal Service in 2003, which featured White Sorrel and historic and modern buildings in Jamaica.
Donnette Zacca’s career as an educator in the visual arts is as extensive and impactful as her career as an artist. In 1980, she began teaching Art and Craft at the Wolmer’s High School for Boys, and in 1985, she returned to the Jamaica School of Art as a Photography Lecturer and Lab Technician. She continues to teach at the Edna Manley College today. Her impact as a teacher and mentor is evidenced by the great number of recent graduates who have integrated photography into their professional practice and several others who are now among the most sought after photographers in the island. She is a co-founder of the Jamaican photography club, Just Black and White (JBW), which was established out of the College’s part-time programme.
The recipient of numerous awards including several medals awarded by the JCDC and a Purchase Award from the National Gallery in 2001, Donnette Zacca is widely acknowledged as one of Jamaica’s most respected photographers.
For her contribution to Art, the Council of the Institute of Jamaica is pleased to award Donnette Ingrid Zacca the Silver Musgrave Medal for outstanding merit in the field.