Ann Veronica Janssens, Reggae Colour 2004
Lamp with dichroic filter, tripod
Collection of Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee – Museo Madre
Ann Veronica Janssens’ Reggae Colour takes the theme of the phantasmal into a purely experiential dimension, transforming light into an apparently tangible material. Through her environmental works, the artist interrogates the sensory perception of reality, dissolving the cognitive distinctions that separate emptiness and materiality. Here, the colours chosen by the artist allude to reggae culture, where yellow represents the wealth of Africa’s gold, red the blood that was shed during colonialism and the Atlantic slave trade, green as the fertile land, and black as the colour of the skin.
Produced by young Jamaicans as a form of community, of resistance, of commemoration of racial injustice in the 1960s, reggae music soon spread to England and across other geographies, becoming a means of remembering another history of modernity and a tool for creating solidarity.