Last Friday the Cultural Speech gallery, Amsterdam was blessed, for the first time, with the presence of Jamel Shabazz and his retrospective exhibition ‘Represent’.
Shabazz’s exhibition is made up from portraits that capture the zeitgeist of Brooklyn, New York and its people in the 1980’s, photography that suggests that Shabazz himself was part of the Hip Hop movement at the time. The same traits that make Hip Hop music intriguing and alluring are what makes this exhibition a successful one; it glorifies the lives of hard knocks and street people in an intimate and personal documentation through their fashion, style and attitude.
As well as documenting the 80’s hip hop identity the exhibition also displays more contemporary characters within Hip Hop culture today alongside the people who provide public services seen on the street of Brooklyn. This gives the audience an insight into how Hip Hop culture has grown to reach new audiences of all races, while placing them side by side with different kinds of tribes all together (police, high school bands, etc) makes it a diverse and insightful visual experience.