Bob Marley's widow to open Durbs exhibition Print
Africa Unite South Africa

by Finola Quarsingh – 26 January 2007

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NATTY DREAD: An exhibition opening at the Durban Art Gallery next month includes lesser known photographs of the late 'Third World Superstar', Robert Nesta Marley

THE 62nd anniversary of reggae legend Bob Marley's birth will be celebrated at the Durban Art Gallery early next month. The exhibition, titled "Bob Marley: A Life in Photographs", featuring 100 pictures of the late musician, will run from 6–27 February.

In the 25 years since his death, Bob Marley has become one of the most recognised faces in the world of music.

The exhibition features prints by Adrian Boot, Dennis Morris and Lee Jaffe that tell the story of how a boy from a rural Jamaican village became a global icon.

Marley, the young son of a Jamaican mother and white English father moved to Trench Town, the tough West Kingston neighbourhood and formed a singing trio with his friends Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston.

For more than a decade, the trio struggled to gain recognition in Jamaica's competitive music industry. Opportunity grasped Marley when he was offered a recording contract with Island Records and with his growing international popularity he became "the first Third World Superstar".

Shortly afterwards came Marley's tragic early death from cancer at the age of 36.

The exhibition, a collection of photographs of both the private and public Bob Marley, is not a linear narrative of his life, although it is roughly chronological.

Many of the images exhibited reveal the extent to which Marley communicated through his facial expressions, so some of the images will be familiar, others certainly less so.

Some of Adrian Boot's portraits of Marley have achieved a certain amount of eminence through Island Record's marketing campaigns, while Lee Jaffe's candid shots from the early 70s are much less widely known.

Neville Garrick's photographs at Zimbabwe's independence ceremonies will have a particular resonance in a Southern African context.

African liberation was one of the central themes of Bob Marley's music. As a child of the Diaspora, he became someone that despised racism, colonialism and oppression. It remains an important element of his legacy and no doubt he would be pleased to see it remembered in a now free South Africa.

Rita Marley, wife of the late legend will officially open the exhibition on Tuesday, 6 February at 6pm, at which other members of the Marley family will be present.

Entry to the Durban Art Gallery is free and all are welcome.

For more information contact the Durban Art Gallery on 031 311 2264.