Exhibition honours Marley
Bob Marley

THE celebrations for the 77th birthday of reggae king Bob Marley continue. A new exhibition featuring works inspired by Marley opens at the museum today, May 11, which marks 41 years since his passing.

The juried exhibition, ‘Roots 77’, features the work of 11 artists and is hung in one of the upper rooms of the museum located at Marley’s former home and studio located at 56 Hope Road in St Andrew. It overlooks the main courtyard and parking lot in which the musical icon famously played football.

The works on display come from artists living and working in Jamaica, and their works must have been inspired by one or more of the seven roots of the Marley legacy which are: identity, food, fitness, creativity, Rastafari, Jah works, and music.

During a special Jamaica Observer preview of the exhibit, director of marketing for the Bob Marley Group of Companies, Julia Vaz explained it is hoped that having viewed the works, persons will walk away reflecting on these themes.

“As part of the celebration of Bob Marley’s 77th birthday we identified certain roots, certain truisms that we think make Bob Marley who he is and [which] we think could hopefully inspire others in the same way. The hope was that these roots would help to inspire people to create art that could do the same thing. We then put out a call for artists to submit their work and we went through and chose some of them — and here they are today.

“The hope is that people will walk in and recognise the different roots of which we speak and be inspired … just taking a look within. You look at each of these and there is something to take away that can help inspire you to do great works. Just the fact that Bob Marley came from the country to the ghetto in Kingston and became one of the biggest in the world, so what can I do,” Vaz continued.

One of the pieces which is sure to generate discussion is Cultural Currency: Bob the Hero, a digital print on canvas by Renee Kitson. At a time when discussion regarding the printing of new banknotes is rife, Kitson places Marley’s image on what she calls the infinity note, as a means of drawing attention to the role Jamaican music has played in building the visual appeal of Jamaica to the world, compared to the recognition and acknowledgement of the work of these creatives.

Howard Moo Young, the photographer who famously captured Marley joining the hands of political rivals Michael Manley and Edward Seaga at the One Love Peace Concert, has also been selected for this exhibit.

Also represented in this exhibition is artist Errol Keane II whose work Ethereal Locks: Coral Gardens offers a more tactile experience, featuring Braille accents for the visually impaired.

‘Roots 77, the Bob Marley exhibition’, will run at the museum until just after the Jamaica 60 Independence celebrations in August.

“I think for persons who visit the museum and have visited the museum on more than one occasion, yes, you come and you get the goosepimples, but getting a chance to see changes and the vision of the museum unfolds encourages people to come back to see what’s new,” said Vaz.

Julia Vaz, director of marketing for the Bob Marley Group of Companies, peruses some the artwork on display at an exhibition currently under way at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, dubbed Roots 77. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)
Richard Johnson

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