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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Sparrow come back home in ceramics


A new exhibition, which runs in London from 6 December until 5 February, showcases representations of Sparrow’s records alongside an archive of printed material relating to his music. The show is entitled ‘Sparrow Come Back Home’, and has been put together by artists Carmel Buckley and Mark Harris. Sparrow Come Back Home is the title of calypsonian Mighty Sparrow’s (Slinger Francisco’s) 1962 album, which points to the irony of his being appreciated only once he had left Trinidad for the US.

Up to 228 ceramic tiles, each approximately the size of an LP, depict the front and back covers from Sparrow’s entire career. The works have been created by firing photo decals directly onto the tiles, fixing his music into a kind of permanent memorial.

The installation of tiles will be accompanied by an archive of documents and photographs relating to calypso, as well as Trinidadian social and political issues often addressed by the songs. Besides photographs, posters and records by rival calypsonians from the period, the archive includes poetry by John Agard, Kamau Brathwaite, Lasana Kwesi, Abdul Malik and Derek Walcott, who have written powerfully about calypso, carnival and steel drum music.

The exhibition is at the ICA Fox Reading Room, which continues its exhibitions examining archive, legacy and heritage. The address is Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH. Gallery opening times are Tues, Wed, Fri – Sun, 11am – 6pm; Thurs, 11am to 9pm; closed on Mondays.