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Jamaican dancehall invades Berlin

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In Fine Style: The Dancehall Art of Wilfred Limonious, is the first solo exhibition of work by prolific Jamaican illustrator Wilfred Limonious (1949–99) in Germany, and includes reproductions of work from the early 1970s through the mid-1990s, spanning three key phases in his career: his comic strips for the Jamaican newspapers, his illustrations for the publications of JAMAL (the Jamaican Movement for the Advancement of Literacy), and his distinctive artwork for the burgeoning dancehall scene coming out of 1980s Jamaica. The exhibition is curated by Al “Fingers” Newman and Christopher Bateman and is produced by One Love Books with the support of the Limonious Estate, to accompany their book, In Fine Style: The Dancehall Art of Wilfred Limonious, the first study into the artist’s life and work.

London-based photographer Alex Bartsch makes his debut at HVW8 Gallery Berlin with photographs from his book, Covers: Retracing Reggae Record Sleeves in London, forthcoming on One Love Books. After researching various reggae LPs and twelve-inches from his record collection, Bartsch has re-photographed fifty sleeves in their original London locations, holding them up at arm’s-length so that they blend in with their surroundings, decades later. Presented in this way, the photographs document the transition of time, with the album cover serving as a window into the past, juxtaposed against today’s backdrop. From an ethnomusicological perspective, the photographs also provide a fascinating insight into the history of reggae music in London, inviting the viewer to rethink the relationship between the city and its musical heritage. The exhibition includes ten select prints from the project, featuring records by artists such as John Holt, Carroll Thompson, Peter Tosh, Moodie, Jah Woosh, Pat Kelly and Smiley Culture.

Serious Things a Go Happen features various original signs and posters from the early 1980s through today, drawn from the collection of Jamaican film and television producer and director Maxine Walters. Jamaican dancehall emerged out of reggae in the late 1970s and brought with it a new visual style characterized by bright colors and bold, hand-drawn lettering. One-of-a-kind, hand-painted posters advertising local parties and concerts have become a ubiquitous part of Jamaica’s landscape nailed to poles and trees across the island. The exhibition in conjunction with Walter’s book Serious Things A Go Happen: Three Decades of Jamaican Dancehall Signs (Hat & Beard Press) presents an unofficial history of Jamaican dancehall music told through its graphic design.
About One Love Books
One Love Books is an independent publishing company founded in 2012 by Al Newman, specializing in books about music, design, fashion and culture, particularly Jamaican culture. Previous publications include Clarks in Jamaica, The Sonar System, and Sound System Culture. More info at onelovebooks.com.
About the Maxine Walters Collection
Over the past three decades Maxine Walters, who has been called “the Queen of Jamaican dancehall signs”, has amassed a collection of some 4,000 original street posters. Selections from the collection have been exhibited at the Havana Biennial, MOCA Los Angeles, Harmony Hall: Jamaica, and recently as part of the exhibition Jamaica Jamaica at the Philharmonie de Paris. Maxine’s book, Serious Things a Go Happen has been endorsed by dancehall icons such as Rory Stone Love & Mikey Bennett, Carolyn Cooper, as well as Marlon James, who wrote the introduction. All proceeds from the book sales go to the Consie Walters Cancer Care Hospice in Kingston, Jamaica.
About HVW8 Gallery Berlin
On view Friday, September 8th through Saturday, October 14th
Opening Reception: Friday, September 8th, 6 – 10 pm
Jamaican Barbeque: Saturday, September 9th, 2 – 6 pm
HVW8 Gallery Berlin
HVW8 Gallery Berlin , Linienstraße 161, 10115 Berli