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Int’l Reggae Poster Contest charity auction returns

Published:Wednesday | June 26, 2019 | 12:28 AM

The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programming for June 30 will feature the return of the International Reggae Poster Contest (IRPC) charity auction for the first time since the exhibition debuted in 2012. Featuring select international entries from the 2018 competition and special contributions, including a limited edition serigraph from IRPC co-founder, the late Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson, the June 30 charity auction will mark the closing of The 25th Art of Reggae Exhibition which opened in February at the National Gallery of Jamaica. It includes the top 60 professional poster submissions to the 2018 International Reggae Poster Contest and top 40 student submissions as judged by the IRPC international jury. A total of 28 countries are represented with China (21 posters) and Iran (11 posters) securing the most spots in the top 100. The exhibition has been hosted by the IRPC, which was founded in 2011 by Thompson and Maria Papaefstathiou. The contest aims to highlight positive Reggae music and the impact it has had around the globe.

Curator of The National Gallery, O’Neil Lawrence, told The Gleaner that exhibition has been on tour to various countries, including Mexico, Cuba, Greece and the United States.


“In its different incarnations, the Art of Reggae Exhibition has travelled across the globe. In its original incarnation, we had a charity auction to benefit the then Alpha Boys Home and since the exhibition is back in Jamaica we decided to have the auction. We have always treasured our partnership with Alpha, and the proceeds will benefit a worthy cause,” Lawrence explained.

He also stated that of the 101 posters in the exhibition, upwards of 30 will be on auction. “We will have specially donated pieces as well as the 30 from the ­exhibition,” he said, adding that major credit cards will accepted, however cheques will not be. Payment must be made on the day of the auction.

Sunday’s auction, which will open with a live music performance by Sparrow Martin and The Skasonics, hopes to raise JA$600,000 to underwrite a 2019-2020 scholarship at the Alpha Institute School of Music for a deserving Alpha music student.

The Alpha Institute – formerly Alpha Boys School – a vocational institution located in Kingston, was founded in 1880 and has been operated by the Sisters of Mercy since 1890. It was geared towards underprivileged youth and has been home to many notable Jamaican musicians and artistes such as Johnnie Osbourne, Tony Gregory and founding members of the Skatalites, to name a few. Today, Alpha is a day school for youth 16-20 years old along with the Alpha Institute School of Music

Professsor Carolyn Cooper, a consultant on culture and development and IRPC board member will make remarks on behalf of the IRPC. A woman of many accolades, Cooper authored the books Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large (2004) and Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the ‘Vulgar’ Body of Jamaican Popular Culture (1993). She also initiated the founding of the International Reggae Studies Centre at UWI.

A past student of Alpha, veteran musician Winston “Sparrow” Martin, was also the longest-serving music teacher at the school. Band Master Emeritus at Alpha he was tutored by Rueben Delgado and Lennie Hibbert. He played on The Wailers hit song Stir it Up and American guitarist Eric Gale’s acclaimed jazz/reggae album, Negril. In 2007 he was awarded a Bronze Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica for his contributions to music. The Skasonics band is composed of Alpha graduates who play foundation Jamaican music in a style they consider “the real authentic way.”

The National Gallery of Jamaica will be open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, and, as usual, on Last Sundays, admission is free.