Outstanding Community Service
Michael Thompson (aka Freestylee, Artist Without Borders) is strongly committed to what he calls Creative Activism. His passionate poster art expresses solidarity with visionaries across the globe committed to fighting against social ills such as worldwide poverty and racism. His work helps to spread the "One Love" message. Michael uses his art effectively with social media to stimulate awareness globally, and to spark conversation about many social issues.
Michael also designs posters celebrating and promoting the history and culture of Jamaica. The world of reggae music is a recurring preoccupation. Michael's art is grounded and inspired by the conscious roots reggae music of the 1970s and 80s. His reggae-fused posters are fundamentally tied to the imagery and messages of that period. Michael believes that the success of the genre is not accidental, but can be traced directly to the hopeful messages that all people can relate to and the feeling of solidarity that the music inspires.
The International Reggae Poster Contest, which Michael conceived in 2011, is a brilliant example of his social activism. The legendary "Third World Band", the self-styled Reggae ambassadors, proudly remind us of the incredulous question they're asked everywhere they perform: "How can a big music come from a little island?" It is this perception of reggae as a'big music'that led Michael to launch the International Reggae Poster Contest in December of 2011.