Reggae's 'Poster boy'
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
THE reach and scope of reggae music continues to have an impact on the works of many worldwide.
The latest testimony has come from Israeli artist and musician Alon Braier, winner of the first International Reggae Poster Contest. The top 100 posters from this contest are currently on display at the National Gallery in downtown Kingston.
At the opening of the exhibition last Sunday, an overwhelmed Braier was at a loss for words as he tried to explain his joy and honour not only winning the competition but also being afforded a prize trip to Jamaica.
With hand on his chest Braier said:
"I just want to thank everyone who has opened their hands and hearts to me. I have never felt so welcomed anywhere and it shows what a single poster can do. It is really inspiring how the reggae poster competition can serve to bring people together."
Elaborating on his winning entry Roots of Dub, Braier told the Jamaica Observer that he wanted to pay tribute to dub music pioneers, including Osbourne 'King Tubby' Ruddock, Lee 'Scratch' Perry and Augustus Pablo, who are all represented in his work.
"I was introduced to reggae at a very early stage and it is a great music... I love it," said Braier.
Among the other highlights of Braier's Jamaican trip will be a recording session as well as the opportunity to rehearse with the band from the Alpha Boys School.
Jamaican Taj Francis took fifth place in the competition, and he too was honoured to emerge in the top five from the 1,142 entries received from all over the world.
"It is a great honour for me to be part of this contest... it is great to share how reggae impacts the world," he told the audience at the National Gallery.
Francis says his entry was also inspired by the work of music pioneer Lee 'Scratch' Perry.
"I was doing some research into the development of dub step music and became so inspired that this new form of music had its roots in Scratch
Perry's sounds, so I decided to use him as my inspiration."
The International Reggae Poster Competition was organised by US-based, Jamaican poster artist Michael Thompson.
Thompson and his collaborator, Greek national Maria Papaefstathiou, see the competition as a platform to promote the establishment of a Reggae Hall of Fame in downtown Kingston.
Second place went to Zafer Lehimler from Turkey and Rosario Nocera from Italy took third spot.
The exhibition runs at the National Gallery till November 30.