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Reggae Art Skanks into Montego Bay Airport

Michael Thompson's heroes and street culture populates Sangster's Airport

The vibrant, energetic interpretations of Jamaican history, lifestyle, and culture, especially music, that went into the late Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson’s distinctive designs, now greets passengers arriving at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. 

Infused with a Reggae aesthetic, Freestylee’s designs allow the ink to skank energetically across the page, and his interpretations of Jamaica’ national heroes are on their way to becoming iconic, imbued with a passion and rebelliousness usually missing from the traditional interpretations.

The Sangster International Airport will sport 10 prints of Freestylee’s work, in a deliberate move to leverage Jamaica’s art and culture in not merely beautifying the airport, but improving the cultural experience.

“Michael’s work is iconic and celebrates, unmistakably, the Jamaican spirit and the country’s rich cultural heritage,” said Rafael Echevarne, CEO of the MBJ Airports in a release.

A wall of Jamaica's heroes - Nanny, Sharpe, Bogle, and GarveyThe prints are included through a sponsorship from the Spanish Court which will be opening a Spanish Court Montego Bay in summer 2017.

Michael Thompson was an artist and activist. He cofounded the International Reggae Poster Contest as a step towards creating a Reggae Hall of Fame and performance center in Kingston.

Prints selected for the airport showcase a commendable range. They include national heroes Samuel Sharpe, Paul Bogle, Marcus Garvey and Nanny of the Maroons, interpretations of portraits of Maroons and Tainos as well as the distinctive street culture, including that of the intrepid peanut vendor, or a sound system via a bicycle.

According to the release, the inclusion of the prints is part of a larger programme using art showcasing Jamaica’s icons and culture at the airport which will be expanded throughout 2017.

Thompson died in 2016.