The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present an exciting and varied Last Sundays programme for May 25. In addition to the opening of the new exhibition Anything with Nothing: Art from the Streets of Urban Jamaica, the programme will feature a poetry reading by Jamaica’s new Poet Laureate, Professor Mervyn Morris, O.M. There will also be musical performances by Pentateuch and Ackee & Saltfish.
The poet and literary scholar Mervyn Morris was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and studied at the University College of the West Indies and as a Rhodes Scholar at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He has taught at the University of the West Indies since the 1960s and is now Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing & West Indian Literature.
Morris has published several volumes of poetry, including: Examination Centre (1992); On Holy Week (a sequence of poems for radio, 1993); The Pond (revised edition, 1997); Shadowboxing (1979) and I been there, sort of: New and Selected Poems (2006). In 2009, Morris was awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit, and in 2014, he was appointed the Poet Laureate of Jamaica – the first Jamaican poet to be so honoured since independence in 1962. On May 25, Professor Morris will read a selection from his poetry inspired by the street art represented in the Anything with Nothing exhibition.
Pentateuch, which was formed in 2009 at the Edna Manley College, has emerged as a major new voice on the Roots Revival scene and engaging anthems such as Black Face have provided them with an enthusiastic and rapidly growing following. The name Pentateuch represents the first five chapters of the Bible and was also chosen to symbolize its five members, Kevor “Vor” Williams on lead vocals, Brady “Jah Bradez” Robinson on drums, Andrew “Worm” Ayre on bass, Andrade “Dradi” Bowen on keyboards and Garth “Duckie” Forester on guitar.
The Japanese twin brothers and dancehall deejay duo Ackee and Saltfish, which recently rocked the stage at Rebel Salute 2014, and their music illustrates that reggae is a universal language. Ackee and Salftish also demonstrate the unique and very productive cultural dialogues that are taking place between Jamaica and Japan.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to view the recently opened Japan: Kingdom of Characters exhibition, which serves as another illustration of these dialogues. Kingdom of Characters showcases anime and manga characters such as Hello Kitty, Gundam and Pokemon, and their role in Japanese daily life.
As is now customary, admission will be free on May 25. Donations are welcomed to help support the National Gallery’s exhibitions and programmes.