Art in the Dancehall launched last month, and will be moving to London for the end of July, right on time for the Jamaica 50 celebrations. In the meantime, we will be collecting some of the artists’ own visual inspiration from dancehall. First up is Robin Clare, whose ‘Dancing Words’ originals are featured in the show. Check a full interview with her here talking about her works more deeply. Below are her top 10 visual inspirations from dancehall & Jamaica, from videos to signs, written by Robin herself.
I love a lot of the pop culture surrounding dancehall, the dances and fashion especially, always pretty edgy, unique and colourful. My favorite aspect of dancehall culture is the dances and I am always into tunes that introducing new dance moves or sing about dance prowess. I’m always inspired by the videos that follow, these are a few of my favorites:
Spice – ‘Hot Patty Wine’
Elephant Man – ‘Nuh Linga’
Although not directly related to music I’ve always loved Albert Artwell’s paintings and for me they are as closely related to JA culture as music is and his paintings are like music so I have to include him in my top ten. I love the colour, rhythm and repetition is his work.
I also remember seeing album covers with artwork by Limonious floating around and posters plastered around town by Sassafrass the king of poster promotion [EN: both are featured in Art in the Dancehall]. I don’t have any examples of Sassa’s work but there’s a nice article about him here. I love this one, the lady has a real dominant Grace Jones thing going on.
Concert & Party Promotion Posters
Beth Lesser’s Photos and documentation of dancehall culture are amazing.
I love this album cover, it is possibly the cheesiest song in the world, but the break down of the movements really appeal and it’s pretty evidient how it’s influenced my work.
Contemporary Party Promotional Posters
The style has changed from old style promotions but modern party promotions are still where it’s at for me. There’s still the tongue in cheek double entendres with the names of many club nights and street parties. It’s sexist yes but to the point where you can’t take it serously it’s just too ridiculous, go have some fun instead.
International Dancehall Queen Contest
The International Dancehall Queen Contest, another pop culture phenomenon that has come out of dancehall – The moves may be kind a slack at times but this is still a serious thing. The moves are challenging and contestants are as physically fit and skilled in their art form as other dancers from other genres.