AKASHA’S NEW LP, Mother Of Exiles is set to be released on Jump Up Records December 7, 2018.
Akasha is one of the finest reggae acts around, so when lead singer Cosmos Ray approached me last year about doing an album cover I was excited. He had seen my 2016 paintings Uncle Kafka and Saturn Devouring his Mother and decided I was the man for the job.
Sometimes bands are looking to be guided through the record cover creation process – not Cosmos. He wanted a Pieta, reminiscent of Michelangelo’s but with a twist: instead of a dying Christ body in Mary’s arms, I was to paint a dying Statue of Liberty tended to by a slave wet-nurse – a stirring symbol of the brutality and hypocrisy that America was founded upon.
“It’s a concept album dealing with how to comprehend complex issues such as immigration, discrimination, and oppression with an approach infused by love, service, and unity” explains Cosmos.
I tried to maintain a classic reggae color palette, and also incorporated silhouetted protestors, tying the piece to contemporary controversies surrounding Civil rights-era sculptures of Civil war-era heroes. While the piece is dark and brooding, note that Lady Liberty’s flame is not quite yet extinguished. Might it be that the loving care of our most historically oppressed is what brings her back to life?
Thursday, December 6, 2018, at The Whistler in Chicago, Akasha is hosting a release show with a live performance and the return of the strictly-vinyl, always-royal reggae party, Simmer Down Sound. Doors at 9 pm, No Cover, 2421 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.