Carolyn Cooper introducing the Portraits of Jamaica Exhibition
On Friday, August 26, 2022, I had my second solo exhibition entitled ‘Portraits of Jamaica’ in Kingston Jamaica.
Afua Cooper wrote at the Gleaner-Jamaica newspaper: On Friday, August 26, Greek graphic designer Maria Papaefstathiou launched her poster exhibition, ‘Portraits of Jamaica’, at the Regional Headquarters of The University of the West Indies (UWI). Co-hosts of the event were the Institute of Caribbean Studies at UWI, Mona and VP Records. Director of the Institute, David Gosse, expressed his pleasure to collaborate with VP to launch both the exhibition and the book, Miss Pat: My Reggae Music Journey, which tells the extraordinary life story of Patricia Chin. With her husband, Vincent, she co-founded VP Records.
Maria Papaefstathiou’s posters are visually stunning, intellectually stimulating, and psychologically uplifting. She pays homage to Jamaican musicians, cultural workers and heroes. The thread that connects each image is the idea that each subject has made significant contributions to Jamaican culture. What would inspire a Greek artist to delve into Jamaican music and culture and produce such spell-binding images? In 2011, Jamaican graphic designer Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson invited Papaefstathiou to co-found with him the International Reggae Poster Contest. She accepted the call, and there was no turning back.
Papaefstathiou told a packed audience that she began listening to reggae non-stop, immersing herself in the culture and history of Jamaica. She travelled to the island on several occasions to learn more, see more and interact with the people. She noted that she was “blown away” by the richness of the culture which she described as “vast and global”. She further remarked that “it is important that you [Jamaicans] love and appreciate it”.