A pioneer in reggae and dub, Jamaican Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry was also an important visual artist – so much so that he is on the list of 91 participants in the 34th Bienal de São Paulo.
The exhibition, which in 2021 is titled «Though it’s dark, still I sing,» presents a sequence of Perry’s works, creations that cross several genres and intertwine words, images, and objects – often burned or painted.
His works contain humour and autobiographical references and are also impregnated with spirituality and an idiosyncratic universe, with influences ranging from Catholic figures to African practices. In a continuous effort to revere the divine, he creates a kind of magical pantheon.
In his works, we can also find many allusions to the Black Ark studio, built by him in the back of his family’s house in Kingston, Jamaica. There, the artist consolidated his frantic musical production, mixing sounds with great talent and simple equipment.
The studio, founded in 1979, closed its doors a few years later and Perry moved to the Swiss Alps, where he has lived and worked for the past decades.
ABOUT LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (1936-2021) was an important Jamaican music icon and made a major contribution to the expansion of Jamaican music in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He worked with artists such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, Beastie Boys, and The Clash. In 2003, he received a Grammy for best reggae album. His work in the visual arts is intertwined with his musical creation, and in both areas, he has sought to achieve harmonies and shake sensitivities. At Black Ark Studios, he began covering the walls with incomprehensible drawings, forms that anticipated some later works – series of paintings and sculptures that cross several genres and contain autobiographical traits, humour, and religiousness. In the last decades, Perry lived in Switzerland and alternated his works between the European continent and his native Jamaica.