Highlights from the 29th Art of Reggae Exhibition Feb 19, 2023

From the left, Vasilis Grivas (first place winner of the 2022 International Reggae Contest), Maria Papaefstathiou (co-founder of the contest) and Patricia “Miss Pat” Chin (co-founder of VP Records)

On Sunday February 19, 2023 the National Gallery of Jamaica opened the 29th Art of Reggae Exhibition which showcases the top 100 entries from the 2022 International Reggae Poster Contest.

As a part of the formalities of the public opening, the keynote speech was delivered by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Permanent Secretary Mr. Denzil Thorpe, on behalf of Minister the Hon. Olivia Grange. 

Mr. Thorpe also accepted two portrait posters of the Minister as gifts, on her behalf. The posters were designed by co-founder of the International Reggae Contest, Maria Papaefstathiou and the contest’s current first place winner Vasilis Grivas of Greece. Remarks were also given by Dr. Carolyn Cooper and the Senior Director of the NGJ Mrs. Roxanne Bucknor (nee Silent), as well as by Papaefstathiou and Grivas.

The exhibition is part of the 2023 Reggae Month activities as well as the ongoing Jamaica 60 celebrations. It will be open to the public until Saturday June 3, 2023.

29th Art of Reggae Exhibition Opening + Panel Discussion

On Sunday, February 19, 2023 the National Gallery of Jamaica invites the public to the opening ceremony of the 29th Art of Reggae Exhibition, a showcase of the top 100 posters from the 2022 International Reggae Poster Contest (IRPC). The event will feature remarks from Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange C.D.,M.P;  scholar and writer Professor Carolyn Cooper and graphic designer and co-founder of the IRPC, Maria Papaefstathiou. Doors open from 10:00am to 3:00pm with formalities beginning at 11:30am. This event is free and open to the public, featuring music by DJ Iset Sankofa.

The IRPC was founded in 2011 by graphic designers, the late Michael “Freestylee” Thompson (Jamaica, 1958-2016) and Maria Papaefstathiou. The continual aim of the contest has been to highlight Reggae’s phenomenal and widespread impact across the globe. The 29th Art of Reggae Exhibition was previously hosted by the Gallery in 2012 and 2018.

The theme for the 2022 IRPC was “Women in Reggae Music”, with entrants submitting graphic designs highlighting the many roles of women in the Jamaican music industry, including songwriting, singing, deejaying, producing, artist management and entertainment journalism. The entrants were also encouraged to honour the women who had powerful roles such as freedom fighters, cultural activists and nurturers which have been popular references in Jamaican music. The winner of the 2022 IRPC is Vasilis Grivas from Greece. An illustrator of children’s and adults’ books, he has worked with many publishers and illustrated more than a 100 books and covers, in Greece and abroad. 

For more information on the International Reggae Poster Contest, you can visit the website at https://www.reggaepostercontest.com/ 

The public is also invited to attend a discussion entitled “Mek Wi Talk: Reggae, Women and Poster Art”, a discussion between Maria Papaefstathiou, Vasilis Grivas and NGJ Chief Curator O’Neil Lawrence, to be held on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, at 1:30 pm.

The 29th Art of Reggae Exhibition is a contribution to the 2023 Reggae Month activities and the ongoing Jamaica 60 celebrations. It is scheduled to remain on view at the National Gallery of Jamaica, until June 3, 2023.

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 https://www.itsjustme.net/

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.