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Kapo (Mallica Reynolds)

Born, 1911 in St. Catherine, Jamaica. Died, 1989

The following biographical sketch appeared in the catalogue Artists of the Western Hemisphere | Art of Haiti and Jamaica, Art Gallery, Center for Inter-American Relations, 600 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y., October 10 - 27, 1968

“Mallica Reynolds, called KAPO, was born at Linstead, St. Catherine’s Parish, north of Kingston on Feb. 10, 1911. He is the Jamaican leader of a Christian evangelistic cult known as Poco Mania. His religious name, Kapo, pertains to “prosperity”. He relates that he “became spiritual”, sometime later at the age of twelve. When he was rubbing two stones together the softer fell apart leaving it in the shape of a face. This revealed to him that God wanted him to be a sculptor. In 1940 he had some 500 followers. However, in the late 1930’s, he says, people became more interested in politics, and his following declined. His work was first noticed by an American film-maker, Thomas Larkin III, who filmed his art and revival ceremonies in 1946. In 1947 and 1949 the anthropology professor, George E. Simpson, of Oberlin College, visited him and wrote articles about him in the United States. Kapo became a painter in the mid 1940’s some ten years after his religious conversion. He had his first U.S. exhibition in New York at the Juster Gallery in the early 1950’s. He has had a number of exhibitions in this country but this is the first he has personally attended. He visited the United States once before in 1962. He has works on exhibition and in private collections in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio. The largest collection is at the Stony Hill Hotel in Kingston.

Kapo is a familiar arresting figure in Kingston and the Jamaican countryside which he travels about on a high-powered Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a vehicle he parks under a white cloth at the altar of his church. Week days he sells snow cones at a small shop in Kingston.”

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New York, United States of America

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