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Feb 18, 1998

Bob Marley exhibition opens at Image Factory

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Even if he goes on to produce the works of a Michelangelo there is one image that will always be associated with artist Gilvano Swasey: That of Bob Marley. This year the two artists, along with a few others are back for their annual show at the Image Factory.

When Bob Marley succumbed to cancer in May of 1981, the talents of the Caribbean’s first international superstar didn’t go to the grave with him. After a one year break, the Image Factory is once again commemorating not only Marley’s legacy but Black History as well.

Gilvano Swasey, Manager, Image Factory

“The whole show is basically to celebrate rasta and Bob Marley and his music and rasta community in the whole world and in Belize and to show people that rastaman vibration is positive, right?”

While the central theme of the exhibition is “Bob Marley and his heritage,” a small portion of the exhibition is also dedicated to other black leaders whose lives have impacted Belize: Marcus Garvey for instance.

Gilvano Swasey

“The title of the exhibition is “Marley at fifty three” because this year he would have been fifty three years old, if he was still with us, noh! Well the first show we had fifty one and we didn’t want to like change name and give it a fancy name, we just wanted to know well like, this guy is about this age and his music is still alive, no matter how old he gets, the music will still be positive.”

Patrick Jones

These are the many faces of Robert Nesta Marley. They are the Belizean artists’ interpretation of the life of this Jamaican reggae superstar, whose legend burns hotter than ever, almost two decades after his death.

Gilvano Swasey

“That’s what makes the show very unique because the shows that we had before we had posters and stuff which, they were camera shots so the faces were not changing in a sense but here artists, when ever you do a painting, especially a Bob Marley, there is different feeling that come out. If you’re looking at him and you feel the lion in him you might do a painting with him changing into a lion, you feel the spiritual aspect in him you might do it with a Selasi in the background, or you might do a marijuana leaf in the background or something like that.”

The exhibition is combining the talents of nine different artists who use different mediums – pencil, charcoal, acrylic and collage -to convey their feelings to the audience in fine detail.

Onesimo Caliz, Artist

“I just keep painting Bob Marley because I see him as a role model. I seem him, through his music, if you listen to his music, you will see that he has a message in all his music, he talks about political problems, social problems, everything that affects the world, so he talks about all the problems that we face today.”

Brad Steadman, Artist

“He is a guy that teaches and if you listen to his messages, you could more understand how to live.”

And that’s just what Swasey is hoping that visitors to the exhibition will come to appreciate.

Gilvano Swasey

“They are not just paintings. With each one of them I express a love for the dread. And a painting like my other paintings would be much more, I’m experimenting with colors, I’m experimenting on medium, but this year I’m not experimenting, I know what I’m doing and what I do when I paint him is I try to bring out the full meaning of rasta, about reggae music and about the positive vibrations that it gives to the people.”

Patrick Jones

In life, Bob Marley never got the honor he deserved. In death he is the Spirit Dancer. The light, the passion, they are all gone from the stage. But for many he does not dance alone for we still hear his song: “One Love”. Patrick Jones, for News Five.

The exhibition will run to the end of this month. All of the paintings belong to private collections and are not for sale.


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