One of the many positives generated by UWI Museum exhibitions has been original poster art. Two of our exhibitions – and our collection in general – have benefited from the talent of an international creative partnership – Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson and Maria Papaefstathiou.
Michael (1958-2016), a Jamaican poster artist who morphed onto the world stage, was a co-founder of the International Reggae Poster Contest, with Maria, a graphic designer who hails from Greece and who was designer for the 2012 publication ‘Global Reggae, edited by Carolyn Cooper and published by the UWI Press. While in Jamaica working on the book, Maria visited the UWI Museum as we were pulling together an exhibition on academic dress. Hearing that we needed a lead poster, she cheerfully and confidently volunteered Michael – and he delivered! More than that, he offered to do two more posters – which featured the UWI’s two West Indian founding fathers, Sir Philip Sherlock of Jamaica and Sir Hugh Springer of Barbados. Michael, whose Reggae posters have been a popular display at the museum on two occasions, also visited in 2013.
More recently, in preparing for our exhibition, ‘Confrontations – UWI Student Protest & the Rodney Disturbance of 1968’, we contacted Maria who designed our signature exhibition poster. Art definitely meets artifact.