Born on September 13th 1911 in Kingston, Jamaica, David “Jack” Pottinger is considered by many to be one of Jamaica’s finest painters. He grew up on Prince Street in downtown Kingston, influenced by the rhythm of life vendors and many Pocomania meetings that took place there. He took a course in house painting, paid for by his mother so that he could do it professionally, and also embarked on the enterprise of sign painting at the encouragement of a Mr. Bailey: a butcher who believed there was something more to this young house painter. And there was; he was to become a central figure in the early defining years of the nationalist movement.
In the early 1940’s the young house and now sign painter was befriended by Ralph Campbell – another pioneering Jamaican artist – who encouraged him to participate in classes being taught by Edna Manley at the Institute of Jamaica’s Junior Centre. Though he was reluctant at first, Pottinger’s talent blossomed under the tutelage of Edna Manley: while he already knew how to use colour but it was the fundamentals of drawing that he learned from Edna Manley that provided him with a solid foundation for his artistic work. By 1945 the works that he produced placed him firmly among the key figures of what came to be known as the “Institute Group,” the first coherent Jamaican art movement.