NGJ Hosts Successful IRPC Poster Auction


The National Gallery of Jamaica came alive for the gallery’s Last Sundays programme June 30 which began with Sparrow Martin and the Ska Sonics blessing the place with wonderful music and knowledge. And then,150 people filled the the lower and upper gallery for the International Reggae Poster Contest (IRPC) auction. Benefiting the Alpha Institute School of Music, it was a lively and friendly competition between art, music and development supporters hoping to go home with their favorite poster design. Paperboy JA, the local IRPC print partner, and The Denizen JA,which contributed paintings inspired by the contest, helped to make the event a signature weekend event. All partners are glad to announce proceeds in the amount of  JA$412,749.98 in support of Alpha’s academic and vocational training for at risk youth.

Senior Director of the National Gallery, Jonathan Greenland, said he was particularly pleased. “We don’t have the opportunity to do activities like this very often. I’m glad to see the large turnout and excitement.  It is wonderful to know that the relationship between the International Reggae Poster Contest and Alpha will continue.”


Carolyn Cooper opened the event on behalf of the IRPC. Cooper said the IRPC is an important cultural activity. “I’m delighted to represent Maria Papaefstathiou on this occasion. In March, she came to Jamaica for the National Gallery’s reception for the reggae poster exhibition. Regretfully, she could not return for today’s auction. It’s such a pleasure working with Maria in support of the International Reggae Poster Contest. Of all the cultural work I do, the IRPC is especially rewarding. The proceeds of the poster auction will go to the Alpha Institute which has nurtured so many generations of Jamaican musicians. Let’s all support this most worthy cause!”

Since 2012, the IRPC has been a strong supporter of the The Alpha Institute. The late co-founder, Michael Thompson donated his 2011 poster design which became Alpha’s iconic logo. And Maria Papaefstathiou, his colleague and co founder, has been tireless with her own service to the school and in helping Alpha connect with new supporters worldwide.

Sister Susan Fraser, whose idea it was to ask Michael Thompson if Alpha could use his image has its logo in 2012, notes the impact the visual arts have made for her students. “I remember when we first started printing tee shirts with Michael’s logo. At the time some Alpha students were uncomfortable letting people know they lived in an orphanage. When shirts with Michael’s logo starting being printed students suddenly wanted to wear the shirt and represent Alpha. In that sense, visual art is still helping to transform the lives of Alpha boys and we will always be grateful for that.”


Douglas Reid, the poster auctioneer and owner of Grosvenor Galleries, was also there in 2012. “I noticed a little different vibe this time around. People came ready to bid this year. The first time we did it, patrons were not sure what to do perhaps. This time, things got started quickly and it was a lot of fun.”

O’Neil Lawrence, Chief Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica, says the gallery is honoured to have been involved in this fundraising initiative. “We have been able to maintain a close relationship with Alpha since the first Reggae Poster Exhibition and look forward to the future of our association. We have also featured many current and past students of the school’s music programme at our Last Sunday’s openings and it has been a mutually beneficial association. Special thanks to the IRPC and the Alpha Institute for doing their part to make this a success.”

Last Sundays: The 25th Art of Reggae Exhibition Reception


The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programming for March 31, 2019 will feature the Pimento Band as well as the winner and top 100 entries for the International Reggae Poster Contest (IRPC) in The 25th Art of Reggae Exhibition. There will also be a speech by IRPC founder Maria Papaefstathiou and IRPC board member Carolyn Cooper.

Grand Winner_Vinicio-Sejas-Bolivia

The 25th Art of Reggae Exhibition is hosted by the IRPC, which was founded in 2011 by Michael Thompson (1958-2016) and Maria Papaefstathiou. The contest aims to highlight positive Reggae music and the impact it has had around the globe. The long term goal is to create a Kingston based Reggae Hall of Fame museum and performance centre that wil facilitate and celebrate Reggae. In addition to that IRPC aims gain support for the Alpha Boys School, an vocational institution located in Kingston. It was founded in 1880 by the Sisters of Mercy. It is geared towards underprivileged youth and has been home to many notable Reggae artists such as Yellowman and Desmond Dekker.

Maria Papaefstathiou (Image courtesy of her website

Born in Athens, Greece, Maria Papaefstathiou is a graphic designer who has been practicing since 1996. Her main focus and research is in poster design. She is the founder and editor of the blog Graphic Art News where she selects high quality international works including designs, illustrations and art to teach and inspire other designers. Graphic Art News has been known to be used an educational tool to many.


A Jamaican author and scholar, Prof. Carolyn Cooper is a consultant on culture and development. A woman of many accolades, Cooper received a scholarship to complete her B.A in English at UWI, Mona and fellowships to complete bother M.A and PhD at the University of Toronto. She has 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 International Reggae Studies Centre at UWI.

The reception will feature a special musical performance by the Pimento Band. The band, though only a little over a year old, features musicians with over thirty years of experience in the local and international music scenes. The roster includes Leebert “Gibby” Morrison, bass player on Peter Tosh’s album’s Mama Africa and the Grammy award winning No Nuclear War, Orlando “Lando” Bolt of the Live Wyya Band, and past student of Alpha Boys Everol “Stingwray” Wray who has been featured on the album The Miseducation of Lauren Hill. The bands repertoire ranges from Ska to Reggae to a style they have dubbed progressive Mento.

The National Gallery of Jamaica will be open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, with the Pimento Band’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 our in house exhibitions 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.