Besides records, we also dig a good coffee table book here at FMF. Whether it’s Blue Note record covers, Reggae LP covers, skateboard graphics, KAWS, ESPO, modern design or street photography, we are always looking for more. This current release can be filed under the “more” category. If you have ever been to Jamaica, you may have noticed these crazy dancehall signs everywhere. These signs fill public spaces and are part of Jamaican culture. The popular NYC Jamaican eatery Miss Lily’s (with an art space next door) has chosen this book as their first publishing venture. They couldn’t have picked a better subject. The enlisted Jamaican filmmaker Maxine Walters to dip into her personal collection for this book.
“ I would say that, overall, we are a people who communicate. As much as our language, our patois, is a very visual language, this is depicted in the signs. And it says that we throw good parties. We’re great at throwing parties, and we like people to know that. ”-Maxine Walters
This book is a perfect example of every day Jamaican culture that some who live there don’t even realize exists. These signs are basically illegal, and like graffiti (that is buffed clean) there are periodic sweeps of removing dancehall signs and burning them. I can remember a book not related to music, but culture being published about ten years ago. Sensacional: Mexican Street Graphics told the story of streets signs in Mexico, and while it may not have the same meaning as signs alluring patrons to the dance hall, the DIY attitude is on a level playing ground. Jamaican Dancehall Signs From the Collection of Maxine Walters is a great addition to any lover of Reggae music, Dancehall culture, or Jamaica itself. An important communication vehicle to get people ‘pon de dance floor, IMHO this book’s a keeper. Dust a Sound Bwoy because this dance hall, is under fiyah.
Read an interview with Maxine Walters over at Large Up by Jesse Serwer
Buy the book here.
If you’re in NYC tonight, there is an opening party for the release of the book: