‘Music: Jamaica’s best advertisement in the past 50 years’—Herbie Miller

Culture Minister Olivia Grange (right) speaks at Sunday’s opening of the ‘Jamaica Jamaica!’ exhibition at the National Gallery of Jamaica in downtown Kingston. Dr.
Jonathan Greenland, senior curator at the gallery (left), and ‘Jamaica Jamaica!’ curators Sebastien Carayol (second left), O’Neil Lawrence (centre) and Herbie Miller. (Photos: Mel Cooke)

As a signature event of Reggae Month, the highly anticipated launch of the Jamaica Jamaica: How Jamaican Music Conquered the World exhibition saw the National Gallery packed to capacity on Sunday, (Feb 2).

Roars of cheers echoed through the gallery when co-curator and music history specialist, Herbie Miller said in his address, “Music is the best and most effective advertisement Jamaica has benefited from in the past 50 years…” He continued by urging the government and private sector to continue to support the preservation of Jamaica’s music culture by investing in the archiving process and supporting the expansion of the Jamaica Music Museum.

Tony Myers of Jam One sound system with the Alpha Institute’s Mutt and Jeff sound system column, which he built. The system is a part of the exhibition.

Sebastian Carayol— the original curator of the exhibition that was first mounted in Philharmonie de Paris in 2017—expressed his enthusiasm in being able to co-curate the exhibition with Miller and O’Neil Lawrence (Chief Curator at the National Gallery) in the birthplace of the six genres of music (Mento, Ska, Dub, Rocksteady, Reggae and Dancehall) that Jamaica has given to the world.

An installation by Ebony G Patterson which dominates the Dancehall to the World section of the ‘Jamaica Jamaica!’ exhibition.

From the Jolly Boys’ Rumba Box to Peter Tosh’s famed M16 Guitar and the rod that late Prime Minister Micheal Manley stretched out to the audience as he shared the stage with music icon Bob Marley and late Prime Minister Edward Seaga during the historic ‘One Love’ Peace concert in Kingston in 1978, the Jamaica Jamaica exhibition features rare memorabilia, photographs, audio-visual clips and art pieces that provide evidence of the potency of how music simultaneously shaped Jamaican culture while impacting world history.

A mural of The Skatalites in the Voices of Independence room of the ‘Jamaica Jamaica!’ exhibition at the National Gallery of Jamaica.

The artefacts showcased within the exhibition have been donated by private collectors from galleries in Jamaica, Great Britain and the United States of America.

The Exhibition will close on June 28.