The “No Gyal Can Test” archive designed by New York City-based artist and stylist, Akeem Smith delineates the authentic 90-2000’s Dancehall culture. The exhibition has been exclusively on display at Red Bulls Art New York. Smith’s exhibition was influenced by his upbringing through Caribbean culture and the impact of Dancehall on his life. “No Gyal Can Test” unearths the genuine traditions of the popular Jamaican music genre, Dancehall.
Smith’s grandmother and godmother served as the main sources of inspiration for the archive. His grandmother and godmother were owners of a Jamaican atelier, the Ouch Collective. These two women became forces in Dancehall with their distinctive and exclusive designs.
“I had the idea for the show 12 years ago. I started with some of the Ouch images from my Aunt Peaches and Winey Winey’s collections,” Smith told SSENSE writer Deidre Dyer. The archive’s initial planned debut was Spring 2020. However, due to Covid-19, the show was pushed back to September 24th and will be removed on November 15th.
The exhibition “traverses the slippages between memory, the archive, and history, excavating the personal photographs and videos entrusted to the artist over the past decade by various family members, friends, and pivotal figures of Kingston’s dancehall community.” according to Red Bull Arts.
View the flyer here.
Akeem Smith has contributed his unorthodox and enticing efforts to the fashion industry. Smith’s most notable collaborations include Hood by Air, Yeezy, Helmut Lang and more.
Listen to No Gyal: