Pic of the Week: Selassie Can Open Any Lock

November 4, 2016


Photographer: Martei Korley
Location: Grants Pen, Saint Andrew, Jamaica

Pic of the Week was one of the original LargeUp features:ย A series of dispatches from co-founder, creative director and chief photographer Martei Korley. Now, weโ€™re bringing it back. Each Friday morning, weโ€™ll share a different image illuminating the richness of the Caribbean experience. Expect culture, music, tradition, food, family, fashion, agriculture โ€” the full breadth of things.

Wednesday was Coronation Day, a date commemorating the anniversary of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I’s crowing as Ethiopia’s 225th and final emperor. The date is a largely forgotten one in Ethiopia, where years of communism and dictatorship have wiped away the vestiges of Selassie’s reign, but it is recognized and observed by Rastafari the world over.

For Rasta, tribute to Selassie is of course a part of the everyday. In Jamaica, birthplace of Rastafari, his image is represented in all manner of objects, from artwork and wall murals to T-shirts, book covers and, in this case, a lock…

MARTEI KORLEY: This was in Grant’s Pen, at a Rastaman’s yard. Those are common Chinese padlocks that are used on grills all over Jamaica. But this one has been customized… blessed by the Most High. He clearly knows that Haile Selassie can open any lock. I’ve been there many times before, and I’ve always looked at it. I wanted to shoot it at night. It is a symbol of freedom and ingenuity, and the light chain is illuminating it, adding a halo to it.

See previous Pic of the Week features here.