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Invisible Presence: Bling Memories in the Jamaica Observer

Posted on May 5, 2014

Ebony G. Patterson, Invisible Presence: Bling Memories, performance, April 27, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica. Photographs Monique Gilpin and Philip Rhoden.

Susanne Fredericks recently wrote about Ebony G. Patterson’s performance Invisible Presence: Bling Memories for the Jamaica Observer. The performance, which took place on April 27, 2014 in Kingston, Jamaica, borrowed largely from the funeral practices common in lower-income communities in present day Jamaica, and focused on creating undeniable visibility for the often marginalized social groups in the region. Fredericks gives a detailed description of the procession:

“As one watched the procession approach, led by the St. Michael Steppers community marching band, who cloaked the rhythms of traditional Jamaican funeral songs in the sounds of reggae and dancehall drums and horns, a sea of highly decorated coffins emerged behind them, held high in the air. Fifty of them in total. Contrasting colours and patterns, ‘blinged’-out coffins with feathers, tassels and sequins, moving to the band music. A spectacle in the truest sense of the word.”

The article goes on to describe the meaning of a ‘bling funeral’, and ends with a quote from Patterson about the performance:

“I believe that, irrespective of place and location, we still have the right to all of these things,” the artist adds. “A bling funeral is a powerful declaration of presence, and that is what I have tried to bring to this public space at carnival time. This is ole Mas, not ‘pritty Mas.”

To read the full article, visit the Jamaica Observer’s website, here.

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