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Major Exhibition Of International Reggae Posters To Open At The National Gallery Of Jamaica, September 30, 2012

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The First International Reggae Poster Contest 2012, which far exceeded expectations, takes another giant step at the end of this month, with a major exhibition “World-A-Reggae” at the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston.

On September 30, 2012, contest co-founders Michael Thompson of Jamaica,Maria Papaefstathiouof Greece and VeerlePoupeye, Director of the National Gallery of Jamaica, will be joined by Israeli contest-winner AlonBraier, the Israeli Ambassador to Jamaica, Mr. Moshe Sermonetta, and hundreds of fans of Jamaican culture.  The exhibition will showcase the world wide embrace of reggae culture through the visual arts.

Jamaican graphic artist, JajFrancis, emerged as 5th place winner, with a colorful tribute to Lee Scratch Perry, “The Upsetter.”

The goal of this multi-faceted venture is to celebrate Reggae music; pay tribute to Alpha Boys’ School, whose graduates are credited, in large measure, in helping create the music that has long gone viral worldwide, and to provide the institution with funds to ensure the good work is continued, the nurturing of Jamaica’s youth.  But, most of all, the aim is tosee the establishment of a Reggae Hall of Fame building in Kingston, a building worthy of admiration as the music and its musicians as well. 

“We’re extremely pleased to be given the opportunity to present this global testimony for Reggae music in the homeland of the music which is loved and performed worldwide,” says Michael Thompson, graphic artist known worldwide as Freestylee.  “The exhibition presents an important platform to articulate our vision of a Reggae Hall of Fame in Kingston, Jamaica, in a structure that, in itself, would draw, like Reggae music, worldwide attention.I imagine the architecture of  FrankGehry as most fitting. ”

The contest began on December 27, 2011 with the goal of discovering fresh Reggae Poster designs from around the world. Interest in the contest grew significantly over the 4-month run with a total of 1,142 submissions from 80 countries. The contest winners were chosen from 370 finalists by a distinguished panel of judges known for their creativity and commitment to design.

“The enthusiastic response to the First International Reggae Poster Contest illustrates the global reach and influence of Jamaican culture,” said MariaPapaefstathiou, co-founder.  “I’m very proud of the positive response we received and also of the willingness of those jury members who contributed their amazing posters to raise funds for the Alpha Boys’ School.”

Among them posters will be one contributed by LubaLukova, and from other judges and friends.  Originally from Bulgaria, Ms. Lukova is an acclaimed poster artist whose work has been exhibited internationally.  The other designers on the jury who contributed printed posters are Roy Villalobos, Kathiana Cardona, Elmer Sosa and Juan Carlos Darias.

Visitors to the opening will be entertained by the music of the Alpha Boys’ School Band.  And, six weeks later, at the closing ceremonies of the exhibition, there will be an auction of a select number of posters, with all proceeds going to the school.

When asked what it was like to have his work selected first place, AlonBraier responded: “What can I say, It’s an amazing feeling. This is actually the first time I applied for an international design contest. Being a part of something so extraordinary and creative was exciting enough as it is, so I wasn’t expecting any big surprises. I’m still getting lots for warm feedback and appreciation from all over the world, it’s truly a great honor.”  

About the exhibition, Ms. VerleePoupeye said: “When Michael approached me, it didn’t take long to realize that the National Gallery would be the most appropriate venue to exhibit these posters.

“It’s really amazing,” she continued, “that an island as small as Jamaica, in both size and population, has had such a profound impact on the world stage in the areas of music, athletics and culture at large. 

“Growing up in Belgium in the Seventies,” she added, “the very first record I ever bought was one of Bob Marley’s.  So, in a way, Reggae was part of my culture as well.”

Also expected to attend the opening are Professor Carolyn Cooper of the University of the West Indies, guest speaker; Sister Susan Frizer of Alpha Boys’ School and officials from the Jamaica Ministry of Culture, among others.

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Written by Staff Writer