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.

Charting Changes: An NGJ Reggae Month Event

On Thursday, February 24, 2022, the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) will present an online Reggae Month event, entitled Charting Changes: A Reasoning about Narrative Styles and Directorship in Dancehall Music Videos of the 1980s and 1990s. The event will be a panel discussion, streamed live at 2:00pm, on the NGJ’s YouTube and Instagram Live channels. Charting Changes is being developed in association with the Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition, which is currently on view at the NGJ and will close to the public on February 28, 2021.

This discussion will be focused on music videos which related songs that articulated popular dance moves, advice, religious views, social criticism and expressions of admiration and sexual prowess. Moderated by Dr. Sonjah Stanley-Niaah, former Director at the Institute of Caribbean Studies UWI Mona, the panellists will be: video director and producer Llewellyn “Leo” O’Reggio, film director Ras Kassa, as well as video editor and director Garth Daley.

The Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition was originally launched in France, at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2017. After it closed in Paris, it was shown in São Paulo at the SESC in 2018 and then relaunched in Kingston Jamaica at the NGJ in February of 2020. Its run was interrupted after being on view for only six (6) weeks, when the NGJ was directed to close temporarily due to the COVID – 19 pandemic and the show later re-opened on 5th of October 2021. Memorabilia of the exhibition are still available for sale at the NGJ Gift Shop, including copies of its catalogue publication.

For further information on the Charting Changes online panel discussion, the Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition or any programming at the National Gallery of Jamaica, please call the Gallery at (876)922-1561 or (876)922-1563. Emails should be sent to info@natgalja.org.jm . Also remember to subscribe to the National Gallery of Jamaica’s social media platforms on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Birthday to Bob Marley

Kirt Henry, Assistant Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica along with representatives from participating Caribbean countries at Expo 2020 Dubai, pay tribute to Bob Marley on his 77th Birthday.

This effort is part of the Reggae Month activities at the Jamaica Pavilion coordinated by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Jamaica Tourist Board and the Jamaica, Special Economic Zone Authority.

Last Sundays to ft. Heavyweight Rockaz

Heavyweight Rockaz_Flyer

The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Last Sundays programming for February 23, 2020 will feature the most recently opened exhibition Jamaica Jamaica! and a musical performance by Heavyweight Rockaz.

Co-curated by Sebastien Carayol  (Independent Curator), Herbie Miller (Director/Curator Jamaica Music Museum) and O’Neil Lawrence (Chief Curator National Gallery of Jamaica), the exhibition takes a look at the beginnings of Jamaican music and how it evolved into an international phenomenon. Utilizing art and artifact, video and interactive technology, it looks at the musical genres of Kumina, Revival, Mento, Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Dub and Dancehall as well as the local culture and figures that influenced their development.


Interlocking to produce musical patterns you can feel through a sound system, the drum and bass are core elements of Reggae Music. As a Drum ‘n’ Bass duo Heavyweight Rockaz uses this synergy to create relatable music that you can groove to. Members Unga Barunga and WelshBass started a new phase of their musical journey in 2013 as Heavyweight Rockaz and had their debut performance at Wickie Wackie Live in December 2014.

The two met in early 2000 while still attending college and have been collaborating since with the goal of unifying others through their music. They have worked with the likes of Tanya Stephens, Jesse Royal and Jimmy Cliff and have performed at venues locally and internationally. Heavyweight Rockaz aims to release new music this Reggae Month including an album and the song Sweet Sensation featuring Jesse Royal.

Doors will open to the public from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The performance will begin at 1:30 p.m. As is customary on Last Sundays, entry is free, but contributions to the Donations Box located in the lobby are appreciated. 

These donations help to fund our Last Sundays events. The National Gallery’s Gift Shop and Coffee Shop will also be open for business.