University of Delaware

Distinguished Scholars Series

Public Lecture

Popular Heritage and Institutional Heritage:
Rastafari Art in Jamaica in The 1970s


Sharon Chacko

This audiovisual presentation looks at the critical role of visual culture in the burgeoning Rastafari movement in Jamaica during the 1970s, with reference to the work of self-taught artists who functioned in local communities, including a few who received institutional recognition.  We compare the Rastafari ideology of art with the official artworld's location of select Rastafarian artists within its narrative of a national art heritage. Certain tensions between popular and mainstream aesthetics are considered, which speak to the contingent nature of the construction of Heritage for post-colonial societies.  This presentation is part of work-in-progress towards the completion of a Ph.D in History.

Sharon Chacko is a self-taught artist and academic from the island nation of Jamaica in the Caribbean. Currently on a Smithsonian Short Term Visitor fellowship conducting research on Rastafari Culture at the National Museum of Natural History, Chacko’s artistic and academic work documents Rastafari art within the context of its place in the creation and definition of Jamaican  Caribbean Cultural Identity. Noteworthy among her published works are “ Contextualizing Intuitive Art”; “ Museum Representation of the Taino and Cultural Power…”; “ A Review of Crossing Boundaries… The African Diaspora in the New Millenium …” Her current research beyond the Ph.D includes a documentation and analysis of contemporary street art – a project coexisting with her research on Rastafarian Visual Culture.

   Wednesday September 15, 2010
3:00 p.m.
Purnell    118
(Reception to follow lecture: Center for Black Culture)

 Caribbean Students Alliance; Center for Black Culture, Institute for Global Studies,
Latin American Studies, Office of Equity and Inclusion, Women’s Studies