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This Bob Marley poster was among the pieces submitted for the competition. - Contributed
This Bob Marley poster was among the pieces submitted for the competition. – Contributed

By Keisha Hill—

An exhibit of the International Reggae Poster Competition (IRPC) was hosted recently at the exhibition centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico City to highlight and reinforce the importance of the musical genre. It was made possible through the partnership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, the Embassy of Jamaica in Mexico, and the IRPC.

The organisers curated a collection of the top reggae posters from the 2012 and 2013 contests for the exhibition titled World-A-Reggae. The exhibition presented 50 of the best art posters selected from more than 2,000 submissions from 90 countries. For the 2013 edition, the third place was awarded to Lenin Vasquez of Mexico.

Mexicans acknowledge reggae as one of the most important cultural aspects of Jamaica, and its influence has left a permanent stampoverseas. In addition, reggae is accepted as an important part of the identity of the Jamaican people, leading to the Jamaican Government’scampaign for its inclusion in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, an initiative which Mexico commends.

The competition is organised annually in the month of February to commemorate Reggae Month, which highlights the globalisation of this musical genre and its positive international impact.

Foreign policy

For Mexico, cultural focus and cooperation with the neighbouring Caribbean countries are priority elements of its foreign policy. The Jamaican and Mexican societies permanently identify and communicate through their cultural heritage, of which music is an unequivocal point of reference in these processes.

Vanessa Rubio Marquez, under-secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Sandra Grant Griffiths, Jamaican ambassador to Mexico, inaugurated the event.

“Cultural expressions transcend nationalities, languages and ideologies – let alone borders – especially in a highly integrated world as the one we live in. This exhibition is a perfect example of the power of music to serve as a lingua franca, and at the same time, it reflects the closeness and friendship Mexico and Jamaica have shared for more than 40 years,” Marquez said.

Bilateral cooperation agreements

Jamaica's Ambassador to Mexico, Sandra Grant Griffiths

Jamaica’s Ambassador to Mexico, Sandra Grant Griffiths

Meanwhile, Ambassador Grant Griffiths said the governments of Jamaica and Mexico have enjoyed many years of collaboration in the implementation of bilateral cooperation agreements. These include the important area of cultural cooperation, which continues to be elaborated in ongoing bi-national talks.

“The Embassy of Jamaica is pleased to partner with the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores of Mexico in the presentation of this Reggae Month 2014 celebration of the International Reggae Poster Contest Exhibition. It provides a timely vehicle for emphasising aspects of Jamaican culture here in Mexico, and a recognition that the music that Jamaica gave to the world remains a relevant instrument of progress and social enjoyment,” she said.

The exhibition remained open until March 7.

Posters on exhibition

Posters on exhibition

Within the framework of celebrations in Mexico for the Reggae Month, Dr Carolyn Cooper from the University of the West Indies offered the Conference: Global Reggae: Jamaican Popular Music and the Politics of Cross-Cultural Communication, at the Matias Romero Institute (Mexican Diplomatic Academy), in Mexico City, on March 4, 2014.


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