Jamaica Observer / JAMAICAN graphic artists again failed to make an impact in the 2017/2018 staging of International Reggae Poster Contest. “This year we received 1,060 posters from 68 countries. The top 100 winners were divided into two categories — the professional with 60 winners and student with 40 winners. We also added one more winner, the grand winner,” competition co-founder Maria Papaefstathiou said in a statement.
This year’s grand winner is Bolivia’s Vinicio Sejas. In the professional category, the winner was Indonesian Naufan Noordyanto, with second place going to Fonzo Moto of Germany and the third spot going to Portugal’s Rúben Pereira. The student category was won by another Bolivian, Adriana Garcia, with China’s Jiheng Liu taking second and Myrto Giotakou of Greece taking third.
Of the top 60 posters in the professional category, Jamaica only secured two spots. Artist Andre Hutchinson’s two works secured the 19th and 52nd placings. Jamaicans fared better in 40 spots allotted in the student category. Entrants Anthony Smith, Kenneil Smith, and Roshane Taylor copped the 27th, 28th, and 29th spots, respectively, while Jodi-Ann Dyer captured 40th place.
This year marks the sixth staging of the contest founded by the late Jamaican graphic artist Michael “Freestylee” Thompson and his Greek counterpart, Papaefstathiou, as a means to bring international focus to reggae music and fulfil a lifelong vision of a Reggae Hall of Fame Museum in Kingston.
Thompson died in 2016, but the competition has been kept going by Papaefstathiou. In recent years, the International Reggae Poster Contest has affirmed support for the campaign to heighten awareness of the distinctive legacy of the Alpha Boys’ School and the work of non-profit organisation Help Jamaica.
No Jamaican has ever won the International Reggae Poster Contest.
The grand winner receives a prize package which includes a trip to Jamaica sponsored by the Sangster International Airport and the Spanish Court Hotel.
In the first two years Jamaican artists fared reasonably well. In year one (2012) Taj Francis placed fifth, with the eventual winner being Alon Braier from Israel. In year two, Rohan Mitchell copped fourth position to Balazs Pakodi of the United Kingdom who took the top spot.
— Richard Johnson