Mon | Jul 23, 2018

'Curating Music' pieces heading to France

Published:Sunday | November 27, 2016 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Everald Brown's instruments on display.
A picture of Augustus Pablo, along with his instrument, at the Institute of Jamaica in the Curating Music: Building a National Collection exhibition.

On December 6, the exhibition, Curating Music: Building a National Collection, will come to an end at the Institute of Jamaica, East Street, Kingston. While the exhibition will not be transported as a whole, some of the exhibits - primarily musical instruments, are now on display - some of it will be within sight of persons in France.

They will be part of the Jamaica, Jamaica exhibition at the Paris Philharmonic, opening in August 2017 and scheduled to run for five months. The exhibition is being curated by journalist and documentary film director Sebastien Carayol, who introduced the project to Jamaica at a Global Reggae Talk held at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, in April.

While there are no immediate plans for Jamaica, Jamaica to travel form its French base, Miller is confident that once it is up, museums in other places will be interested in housing it. He reeled off a number of cities where Jamaican popular music has found fertile ground, among them Tokyo, Japan; London, England; and Los Angeles and New York in the USA.

Carayol said in April that in putting the exhibition together "the difficulty is to convince people. These artefacts are really close to the people who have them. They are loaning it to you for five months. The convincing part is very important ... I am trying to find instruments and art exhibitions, not just pictures and videos."

Among what he had been able to get for the exhibition up to that point was Oswald 'King Tubby' Ruddock's original mixing desk.

There has been a willingness in Jamaica to participate, as the National Gallery and Liberty Hall are also participating in Jamaica, Jamaica. Miller is looking for assistance with items in the Jamaica Music Museum's collection to result from the collaboration.

Restoring artefacts

"The French can help in restoring artefacts which are on loan there. If I could get instruments, restored by master restorers that would be good," Miller said.

Carayol had said: "The exhibition I am trying to do could easily be 10 different exhibitions ... . The challenge is to be comprehensive in a limited space. You know, you have to leave something out." Music is the thread through it all, and Carayol noted how it is an entry point into Jamaica's culture as "you start buying records and you ask who is Marcus Garvey. You read on the life of Garvey."

Performance is also a part of the exhibition. Carayol said he could see someone like Monty Alexander being invited to a space which has a concert hall. There is also the idea of using solar and bicycle-powered sound systems, as people come out with their children and as they ride, "you are powering a sound system."