Big Tings a Gwaan Down Di Street - Jamaica 

Big tings a Gwaan Down di Street, Exhibition 5- 18 April 2019, The Old Print Works, Birmingham. 


Selected images from the exhibition Big tings a gwaan down di street from the collection Hand-painted Jamaica.


Hand-painted Jamaica is part of an evolving documentary photography project which explores the visual language of Jamaica, through graffiti, hand-painted signs and street art found painted on walls across the island. The wider project focuses on the work of Jamaican sign-painters to learn about their artistic processes and as a document to capture this art form. 


The project builds on Tracey Thorne's work to document the ephemeral painted walls found in urban areas by paying attention to the streets and the buildings that surround us, to immerse ourselves in a world that might otherwise slip by. 


On the streets in Jamaica, the convergence of daubed graffiti, signs and the painted murals create a rich visual landscape reflecting aspects of Jamaican life and culture.  The author Marlon James describes the importance of the sign to Jamaican culture beautifully - when he wrote; “if hip-hop’s visual language is graffiti, then dancehall’s visual language is the sign, the event poster – the notice that ‘big tings a gwaan down di street’.”

The project received support from Arts Council England.  A  limited-edition zine Hand-painted Jamaica includes selected images from the series and is published as a not for profit publication available here. In 2019 around 100 copies were distributed for free in Jamaica using the money raised from the UK sales.  

The series is available for exhibition or publication as a photo essay and selected images from the series are available as fine art photographic prints contact the artist for details. 

© Tracey Thorne