Jamaica seeks world heritage status for reggae

Jamaican Reggae musician Chronixx performs at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, in San Francisco, California. (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2018
0

Jamaica seeks world heritage status for reggae

PARIS: Jamaica is bidding to have reggae music admitted to a list of global cultural treasures worthy of protection, the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO announced on Tuesday.
Paris-based UNESCO keeps a list of so-called “intangible heritage” found around the globe, which groups together traditional cultural practices such as horse games in central Asia to pizza-making in Naples.
Jamaica has asked for reggae to be added this year at a meeting of the UN agency on the island of Mauritius, where 40 proposals are set to be considered from November 26 to December 1.
So far, 399 examples of world heritage including dances, food-making practices, boat-building, games, festivals and even coaxing rituals for camels in Mongolia have been added.
A successful application is largely symbolic, but can serve to raise the profile of the country and the practice.
Other applications this year have been filed for the Irish game of hurling, the making of perfume in the French town of Grasse, and traditional wrestling in South Korea known as Ssireum.
Reggae emerged in the late 1960s in Jamaica and quickly become a global phenomenon thanks to singers such as Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff and the famed producer Lee “Scratch” Perry.
The music, with its heavy bass lines and drums, has influenced countless artists since and spawned new sounds such as dub.


Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo US show set to open

Farah Al-Qasimi’s ‘Living Room Vape’ (2017). (Supplied)
Updated 16 July 2019
0

Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo US show set to open

DUBAI: Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo exhibition at a US institution is set to open on July 30 at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Working in photography, video, and performance, Al-Qasimi’s work explores themes of gender, nationality and class. Her photographs subvert ingrained expectations of how images are constructed and understood and she is known for borrowing conventions from various sources, including documentary photography and Renaissance paintings.

Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire) (still), 2019. (Supplied)

Camouflage and concealment play a central role in the artist’s work. In a recent series of portraits, Al-Qasimi obscures the faces of her subjects while capturing intimate images, despite the lack of a clear, engaging face. Various compositional strategies hide identifying features — behind plumes of smoke, a well-placed hand, or sumptuously patterned textiles and drapery — while she still manages to accentuate the opulent interiors her subjects inhabit.

Alongside a group of recent photographs, the exhibition will include a screening of Al-Qasimi’s new film, “Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire)” (2019), which was recently unveiled at Art Basel Statements.

M Napping on Carpet, 2016. (Supplied)

The 40-minute video is structured like a television documentary following a jinn — a ghost-like entity in Islamic tradition. Delivering a confessional, reality TV-style monologue, the jinn appears on camera beneath a patterned sheet. The video interweaves her thoughts on centuries of Portuguese and British colonial meddling in the modern-day emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah in the UAE. The video also explores the influence of the European presence in the region and the use of Euro-centric practices for the display of historical artifacts.

Curated by Henriette Huldisch, the director of exhibitions at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, the exhibition marks the first time Al-Qasimi’s work has been shown in a solo exhibition in the US — it is set to wrap up on Oct. 20.  

The artist lives and works between New York and Dubai and has seen her work exhibited in The Third Line gallery in Dubai, Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai and the San Francisco Arts Commission, among other locations.

Al-Qasimi received her MFA from the Yale School of Art and has participated in residencies at the Delfina Foundation in London; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine; and is a recipient of the New York NADA Artadia Prize and the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship.