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RASTAFARI VISIONS

ABOUT THE ARTIST RAS JAHAZIEL

(The Revelator)

 

The Caribbean, once cultural outpost of Europe, is experiencing the cosmic vibrations of a new culture. It is as if a new nation is arising. A new people stand within the corridors of human history and proclaim the dawning of a new age. These are the “rainbow children” of Haile Selassie, Jah Rastafari, a people who have thrown off the mental shackles of neo-colonialism and slavery.

These people who are no longer influenced by the negative conceptions inherited from slavery, hold out to the world, and their Diasporic African family especially, a vision that is founded upon Marcus Garvey’s teachings --total acceptance of self and African-centeredness, teaching that herein lies the redemption of the children of Africa who were led astray in the DARK AGES OF EUROPEAN DOMINATION.

Founded upon the cornerstone of the divinity of man and woman, patterned after the divinity of Haile Selassie, God in man - Jah Rastafari, many poets, singers, musicians and artists have been born in this new culture.

From out of this cultural landscape comes Ras Jahaziel - the Revelator. Born in Barbados, an island of the eastern Caribbean, Ras Jahaziel, the multimedia artist, speaks to the world through the media of large oil paintings on canvas and on video, telling the history of African people since their encounter with Europeans. It is the story of his grandmother, your grandmother and the sons and daughters who suffered in The Maafa (the African holocaust).

His soul-stirring paintings depict such themes as “The Rape of Africa,” the Columbus invasion, the Middle Passage, and the horrors of plantation slavery. Not content to be a historian and recorder of the trail and trial of the white cross, he ventures into the future. Moving from evocative paintings such as “The Haitian Revolution,” and “Resurrection of the Drum,” the artist visionary shares the hope of repatriation and reparation for the scattered Ethiopians in such paintings as “The Return” and “The Harvest.” Every painting has a story that is accompanied by his poetry.

Born to be an artist, he recalls spending most of his time in junior and secondary school drawing, drawing, drawing with the passion of a one called for a purpose. Never furthering his formal artistic tuition past secondary school where he was guided by the elder and renowned Caribbean artist and sculptor, Karl Broodhagen, he deliberately chose to allow his talent to grow by practice and intuition.

Answering the inner call to pursue his creative talents, Ras Jahaziel withdrew from teaching art and drama at a primary school to fulfill his prophetic role. By 1990 he had created a large body of paintings after complete withdrawal from all communication with society for over twenty years, most of them having been spent in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica and the hills of Barbados.

The year 1990 saw his advent on the world stage as an artist. Since then he has won many medals of Honor in Barbados’ annual Independence Exhibition. His art was also displayed in Santo Domingo at the Biennial of Caribbean and Latin-American art in 1992 and the Barbados Consulate in New York City in 1995 and in 2003. In North Carolina, his paintings have been exhibited at numerous galleries including the Wake Visual Arts Gallery, the African American Cultural Center at North Carolina State University, and Hayti Heritage Center. When asked to choose his major exhibition, he readily refers to the United Nations Global Conference for Small Island Developing States which was held in Barbados, April, 1994. There his art was seen by thousands from all over the globe.

 

Greatly stimulated by the events of September 11, Ras Jahaziel, the writer, published his first book, Put This in Your Pipe and Smoke It: a View of Terrorism from the Historical Victims of Terrorism, in late 2001. This book, along with the nearly 30-year collection of prophetic revelations, became the impetus for the development of The Lamentations of Mother Earth, (http://members.aol.com/rastavis/lamentations.html) his groundbreaking video production, released in January 2004. The Lamentations of Mother Earth is a timely, provocative video that provides clarification in a time of deep mystification. Like the re-emerging voice of those ancestors who were stifled in the African Holocaust, “Lamentations” takes us on a journey through time and history, in the footsteps of the historical victims of terrorism. A shocking, thought-provoking film, “Lamentations” connects the often illusive threads of past history with present reality. It is the story of a “people robbed from their homeland … and for four-hundred years” cast into slavery. It is the story of the present-day heirs of the African holocaust.

 

A second book, "Gods Arising from the Grave of Negro-hood", was developed as a companion to the video and suggests potent remedies to present-day struggles. “Lamentations” received the Pinnacle Award for experimental films at the Reel Backwoods Film Festival, October 2005.

Presently, Ras Jahaziel is focused on creating new visions and producing another video.