Birmingham celebrates Art In The Dancehall
Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer
The early 1980s heralded a new era of Jamaican popular music - dancehall.
This new product was accompanied by outlandish cartoons and vivid, often hilarious illustrations that graced album and song covers.
The dancehall was also presented in a similar light with bright, visually appealing posters that sound systems used to spread the word about their 'sessions'.
Now, the tradition is almost non-existent in Jamaica.
In Birmingham, however, from June 27 to July 13 at The Drum, 44 Potters Lane, B6 4UU, the city welcomes 'Art in the Dancehall', an exhibition in which cover art by then prominent 'dancehall' graphic artists such as Wilfred Limonious, Jamaal Pete and Tony McDermott are being showcased.
Work of the one-time, go-to poster designer, Denzil Sassafras, is also included in the exhibition that moves to London for a July 27 to August 12 exhibition at Puma Yard (Boiler House, 150-152 Brick Lane, E1 6RU).
Additionally, the work of five young artists from around the world who have been keeping the tradition alive: Ellen G (Israel), Robin Clare (Jamaica), GABE (Germany), Daniel David Freeman (UK) and Peter Edwards (UK), is being shown.
The exhibition is curated by Shimmy Shimmy and Al Fingers, in association with Puma Yard and Jamaica50.
It is a part of the UK's BASS (British Arts and Street Sounds) festival, a month-long celebration of Black music and art.
The most recent example of this type of album art in Jamaica comes in the form of Mr Vegas' Sweet Jamaica effort through which he aimed to replicate the feel of a '90s dance.
"The design of the album cover is one that reminds you of a '90s dance poster, like from a House of Leo or something. It's just reminding you of the sweetness of Jamaica and where we're coming from as a people," Mr Vegas had told The Gleaner in an interview.