Previously at the ICA - Events

Courtesy of Carmel Buckley and Mark Harris

Sparrow Calypso Genius

13 Dec 2016

Panel discussion chaired by Mark Harris, featuring speakers Professor Joan Anim-Addo, Anthony Joseph and Mykaell Riley. The panel discuss calypso singer Mighty Sparrow’s achievement as a lyricist and performer in the context of Caribbean political and social histories.

Considering calypso’s impact on West Indian literature and music, this panel offers perspectives on the significance of Sparrow and other calypsonians in the Caribbean, compared to his reception in countries of West Indian migration such as Britain, the United States and Canada.

This is presented on the occasion of the ICA Fox Reading Room exhibition Carmel Buckley and Mark Harris: Sparrow Come Back Home. Taking its title from a 1962 album by Mighty Sparrow, this show's representations of Sparrow’s records alongside an archive of printed material relating to his music, revealing the depth of calypso culture. Artists Carmel Buckley and Mark Harris install their work of 180 ceramic tiles, each approximately the size of an LP, depicting the front and back of record covers from Sparrow’s entire career. The images comprise of photo decals fired onto the tiles, fixing his music into a kind of permanent memorial.

Speaker biographies

  • Mark Harris

    Mark Harris was born in Singapore, lives and works in London and Cincinnati. He teaches in Goldsmiths College Art Department, London, Mount Royal MFA, MICA, Baltimore and School of Art Professor, University of Cincinnati. Recent exhibitions include High Times, Welcome Collection, London, (2011); London Open, Whitechapel Gallery, (2012); Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (2014); Cherry & Lucic, Portland, OR, (2015); Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2015); Zephyr Gallery, Louisville (2016); Root Division, San Francisco (2016); Wave Pool, Cincinnati (2016). He received the Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Art Writers Grant in 2009 and his recent published writing includes: Pipilotti Rist's Music (2009); Marcia Farquhar: Chelsea Hotel, March 14, 2008 (2009); A Local Culture: tradition and risk in Cincinnati, (PAFA, 2011); 'The Materiality of Water', Aesthetic Investigations, (2015); 'Another Minimalism', Art Monthly, (2016); 'What Strategies Enable Women Artists’ Self-Determination Today?', C21 RECENT HISTORY, (2016) and 'Sharon Hayes', Studio Voltaire, London, (2016).

  • Mykaell Riley

    Mykaell Riley began his career as a performer with pioneering reggae outfit Steel Pulse before moving on to found the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been a professional writer/producer/arranger, producing music for TV, film and over thirty albums, and has worked for artists such as Soul II Soul, Courtney Pine, Baba Maal, and a host of others. He is currently Head of Music Production and Program Director/Principal Investigator, Black Music Research Unit (BMRU) at the University of Westminster. His current research focus is the impact of Jamaican and Jamaican-influenced music on British culture and society, seeking to re-value and surface British black music within the mainstream narrative of Britain and Britishness. He has been instrumental in securing a significant recent Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) award to deliver a 3 year exploration of this heritage and its impact through the University of Westminster.

  • Anthony Joseph

    Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as ‘the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain’. He is the author of four poetry collections and a novel, The African Origins of UFOs. In 2005 he was selected by the Arts Council of England and Renaissance One as one of 50 Black and Asian writers who have made major contributions to contemporary British literature. He has received an Arts Council of England touring award, and an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) postgraduate scholarship. As a musician he has released six critically-acclaimed albums and has collaborated with Archie Shepp, Jerry Dammers, Joseph Bowie, Keziah Jones, David Rudder and Meshell Ndgeocello, producer of his 2014 album, Time. His most recent album, Caribbean Roots, was released in June 2016 on Strut/Heavenly Sweetness. He lectures in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, London.

  • Joan Anim-Addo

    Joan Anim-Addo was born in Grenada. She is Professor of Caribbean Literature and Culture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her publications include the libretto Imoinda or She Who Will Lose Her Name, the poetry collections Janie Cricketing Lady and Haunted by History, the histories Sugar, Spices and Human Cargo: An Early Black History of Greenwich and Longest Journey: A History of Black Lewisham, as well as the literary history Touching the Body: History, Language and African-Caribbean Women’s Writing. 'Perspectives from the Radical Other', a Special Issue concerning her most recent research project can be found in the e-journal, SYNTHESIS, online. She was awarded the Callaloo Life Achievement Award in 2016.


E.g., 31-07-2021
E.g., 31-07-2021