Images of Roots, Rock, Reggae…

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Images of Roots, Rock, Reggae… "This small space became my canvas and window to introduce reggae visually to the world." -Neville Garrick, a reggae album cover artist. In my opinion (and what I’ve learned from this class), is that art is a great means of self-expression. To me, art is a visual stimulator, an educator, and the source of a deeper meaning that the artist only truly knows. Artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Van Goh have provided us with masterpieces to interpret and enjoy, although, as I’ve also learned, you don’t have to be a renowned artist in order to make a statement. From the most minute of sketches, blossom pieces of artwork. Thus, as Charles Biederman states in his book, Art as the Evolution of Visual Knowledge: Many great artists and art cultures have been born, have lived and died, but art has been born only once and as yet has never died. Thus we consider it as a single organism many thousands of years old, and the result of efforts of untold millions of artists; an organism which has been developing in some arbitrary fashion, but in a definite and specific direction, as specific as the operation of the organisms that produced the art. It is necessary that we become coherently conscious of the particular stage of this development as it exists in our century, if progress in art is to be continued. (Biederman 20) Here, Mr. Biederman is relating to the efforts of artists to produce development and change, or consciousness there of. Many artists go "untold"; meaning, from the largest of cities to the smallest of islands, art lives. Therefore, as my main focus for this paper, I chose to rely on art (and Jah!) to be my guide and to provide me with an understanding as to what Jamaica, Rastafarianism, and Reggae are all about. In particular, I took a look at reggae album cover-art as a means of study. Reggae music defines a particular identity for the Rastas and/or Jamaicans. It is a means of communication, thus, reggae album cover art adds more to the music and together, both the art and the lyrics, and make a bold statement. Art, it should be understood, produced the first forms of recorded language, a language just as reliable for making investigations of human development as is that with which we are familiar in the remains of Egyptian cultures, etc.

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