Congratulations to Israeli graphic designer Alon Braier winner of the First International Reggae Poster Contest that drew hundreds of participants from around the world. Braier's poster along with nearly 100 more are on show at the National Gallery of Jamaica in an exhibition that organiser Michael Thompson hopes will drum up support for a Reggae Hall of Fame and the Alpha Boys School that has fueled the talents of many of Jamaica's reggae musicians. Braier's poster is a blend of pop art forms and tributes to producers/selectors like Lee Scratch Perry who have done so much to make reggae a global sound. The success of this first venture with participants from eighty countries seems to match the spread of this music form's popularity. Meanwhile, Alon Braier's pleasure at being voted the winner and being present at the exhibition's opening was evident in his words: “As the full list was published I suddenly realized how big this thing is, since then I was really anxious to see what others will come up with....”
The competition was stiff. It's easy to see why the judging of winners was controversial because of the varied poster ideas and the quality of work on display. From the more predictable images of Bob Marley to the use of optics and Rasta color designs, all the posters seemed to reflect reggae's innovative qualities and the music forms ability to cross boundaries. Created online, printed locally and hung inexpensively with bull-dog clips the show shares all of reggae's raggamuffin restiveness and global cool. No doubt, this is a competition to watch and an exhibition that will have currency worldwide.