Last Sundays February 24, 2019 to feature Tribe Sankofa

Last Sundays_FlyerThe National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programming for February 24, 2019 will feature Tribe Sankofa as well as tours of our current exhibition, Beyond Fashion. We will also have on display the winner and entries for the International Reggae Poster Competition in The Art of Reggae Exhibition and the five finalists of the Government of Jamaica Houses of Parliament Design Competition.

February marks both Black History and Reggae month. It is a month that acknowledges and honours the achievements of black people throughout history and despite immense racial adversity. It is also a month that celebrates reggae music and it’s contribution to the development of Jamaica, musically, culturally and economically. With this in mind this Last Sundays will feature two new exhibitions.


The Art of Reggae Exhibition is hosted by the Reggae Poster Contest. The Reggae Poster Contest was founded in 2011 by Michael Thompson and Maria Papaefstathiou and aims to highlight reggae around the globe, create a locally based Reggae Hall of Fame museum and gain support for the Alpha Boys School.

IMG_3686The second phase of the Government of Jamaica Houses of Parliament Design Compettition is being hosted at the National Gallery of Jamaica. Patrons may view the proposals, site models and renderings of the top 5 finalists until February 28, 2019. The competition stipulates that at least 50% of each team be of Jamaican heritage or citizenship and, as such, the new House of Parliament will not only be a place where decisions regarding the Jamaican people are made, but a place created by it’s people. There is also a People’s Choice Award where citizens are encouraged to vote on the design of their choice.

8Tribe Sankofa is a performing arts collective formed by Fabian Thomas. It is a vibrant and eclectic group of multi-talented performers who combine their artistry to add an exciting new dimension to the performing arts landscape of locally and internationally. Their niche is “….borrowed and original spoken word/poetry, soulful song-styling uniquely blended with other visual and performing arts”. Tribe Sankofa has shared their unique offerings in diverse spaces including the Poetry Society of Jamaica, Bookophilia, Lignum Vitae Awards, Gungo Walk Alternative Music and Arts Festival, Arts in the Park and the Investiture of the Poet Laureate of Jamaica to name a few. In addition to multiple medals and awards at Tallawah Dramatic Arts Festival and the Jamaica Cultural Development’s Speech and Drama competitions, the collective has also staged its own productions: Black Bodies, A Tribe Ting and their signature annual production Word Soul. This Last Sundays Tribe Sankofa presents BLACKness (an every month thing) ‘A celebration of blackness, spoken, sung and felt’.

The National Gallery of Jamaica will be open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, with Tribe Sankofa’s performance beginning at 1:30 p.m. As per usual on Last Sundays, admission is free, but contributions to our Donations Box, located in the lobby, are appreciated. These donations help to fund exhibitions like Beyond Fashion and our Last Sundays programming. The National Gallery’s Gift Shop and Coffee Shop will be open for business.


Opening: The Art of Reggae Exhibition


This Tuesday February 12, 2019 the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) will be opening the 25th Art of Reggae Exhibition held by the International Reggae Poster Contest (IRPC). At the NGJ, we will have the top 100 designs on view, in addition to the winning 2018 entry by Vinicio Sejas of Bolivia. The posters in this exhibition will give an expansive view of how reggae may be interpreted and represented from a variety of perspectives.


The IRPC was founded in 2011 by graphic designers Michael Thompson (1958-2016) and Maria Papaefstathiou. The contest aims to highlight how widespread and impactful reggae has become across the globe. Its long term aim, is to construct a Reggae Hall of Fame museum and performance centre in Kingston, Jamaica that lauds Jamaican music in all it’s capacities, forms and iterations.


“I am thrilled that the 25th International Reggae Poster Contest Exhibition will be held at the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston, three months after the show at the Sangster International Airport. Almost seven years ago, the very first exhibition was held at the National Gallery. I must thank the Acting Director, Dr. Jonathan Greenland, and our sponsors Geoff Lewis, owner of PaperBoy and Dr. Rafael Echevarne, CEO of MBJ airports, who all immediately embraced the idea. Reggae Music has the power to draw creative people from around the world to participate in this poster contest, which is such an excellent manifestation of Bob Marley’s “One Love” vision.” – Maria Papaefstathiou


Another major goal of the IRPC is to raise awareness and support for the Alpha Boys School, which has produced a number of notable reggae icons such as artists Desmond Dekker, Yellowman and Don Drummond of the Skatalites. The IRPC believes that the school should become a template for other vocational institutions of its kind.

Taj Francis (Jamaica) – 5th place, International Reggae Poster Contest

Taj Francis – The Upsetter (2012), fifth place winner in the First International Reggae Poster Contest

The Jamaican graphic designer and illustrator Taj Francis placed fifth in the International Reggae Poster Contest, of which the best 100 entries can currently be seen at the NGJ. His poster is a tribute to “The Upsetter” – Lee Scratch Perry. The design not only captures this seminal Jamaican musician’s eccentric appearance but also visualizes Scratch’s dub philosophy, as related to Doug Wendt in an interview from the mid 1990s:

“Everyone who started dub music must have heart. Your heart goes boop boop, boop-boop; that’s the beat of the drum. A brain goes tick-tick, tick tick; that’s the bass. Your brain is your bass and your heart is your drum. So make sure your heart is not corrupted because what you send out comes back to your heart. If you send out a good heartwave it’ll come back with a dub you see flying in a cloud of good news. So you start from a good heart and a clean brain – drum and bass. You can have guitarists and pianists around, if they are not confusing, but I prefer drum and bass”

Taj is a recent graduate of the Edna Manley College’s School of Visual Art, with a major in Illustration and has been doing art for as long as he can remember. The media used for his artworks are the usual pen and ink, brush and ink, spray paint, and digital illustration and painting and he thus combines traditional and new media. Taj has a unique graphic style which relies on elaborate, psychedelic patterns, contrasting textures, 3-D effects offset against 2-D backgrounds, and bold splashes of colour – it can be described as “contemporary baroque” and resonates with Jamaican and global pop culture. His artwork is inspired by music, a strong social conscience, and a passion for what he does. Much of his current free-lance work is for the music industry and he is also working on a clothing line where he does custom artwork on sneakers.

Taj Francis

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Alon Braier (Israel) – winner of the First International Reggae Poster Contest

Alon Braier

Alon Braier is the winner of the First International Reggae Poster Contest and one of the artists featured in the NGJ’s upcoming World-A-Reggae exhibition.

Alon Braier is a 28 years old freelance illustrator based in Jaffa, Israel. He graduated in 2010 from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, with one semester in Maryland Institute College of Art. In the last two years he has been working with a vast variety of clients, including several magazines, high tech companies, advertising agencies and design studios. Along with being a graphic designer, Braier is also a musician, skilled with both the saxophone and bass guitar. He played with several local Reggae bands and attended Reggae festivals and jam sessions in north Israel.

Alon Braier – first place entry, First International Reggae Poster Contest

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World-A-Reggae (September 30-November 10, 2012)

The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, World-A-Reggae: The 100 Best Entries from the First International Reggae Poster Contest, which will open to the public on Sunday, September 30 at 11 am.

Established and organized by the Jamaican, US-based poster artist Michael Thompson and the Greek poster artist Maria Papaefstathiou, the First International Reggae Poster Contest was launched in December 2011, on the theme “Towards a Reggae Hall of Fame: Celebrating Great Jamaican Music”, and the call for entries was circulated globally, mainly by means of social media. By the deadline for entries in April 2012, the organizers had received a total of 1142 entries by 678 designers from 80 countries, on themes inspired by, and in tribute to, Jamaican music.

Alon Braier, Israel – 1st place winner

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