I & I
"I & I" was the third collaboration by the writer Anicée Gaddis and photographer Alessandro Simonetti in their ongoing, multifaceted artistic survey of Jamaican culture. Through expansive storytelling and presentation — including a limited edition hardcover book, digital content, and an exhibition — the "I & I" project examined the origins of the Rastafari faith and the manner in which it is being expressed in modern-day Jamaica through Rasta elders, scholars, and a generation of young activists and artists. The title originated in Rasta semantics whereby the pronouns you and me are replaced by I and I to express a oneness among people and as a means of signaling a direct connection to God.
The project was presented by VSCO and produced by the technology company's creative studio in New York City.
Essays and interviews by Anicée Gaddis
Photography and art direction by Alessandro Simonetti
Creative Director, Editor: Lee Harrison
Art Director: Kristian Henson
Art Director: Hassan Rahim
Producer: Lahaina Alcantara
Executive Producer: Meagan Wood
Chief Creative Officer (VSCO): Wayne Wu
Before returning to Kingston, you grant yourself the pleasure of a swim at Boston Bay. The waves are high and some surfers are out on their boards, while families with young children populate the shoreline like human bouquets. You swim out far, farther than may be wise, and as you start to manage the waves, to dive under their consecutive pulse and pull, your mind begins to spill forth with all that you have seen and heard during these past days. The priest cradling the Bible as if it were a small child. Yaadcore’s baby daughter clutching the cross around his neck as he spoke to you about Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line. Brother Levi’s eyes emanating one magnetic truth after another. A lionized Billy Mystic communing with the sea. Everyone rocking to their own frequency. Everyone looking like Jesus. “Rasta is the future and the future is now,” I-Nation said. And are we really spirits inhabiting the flesh? And if so what do our past lives look like? What do our future selves hold in store? As the water ebbs around you, you begin to wonder if under the universe’s rhythm we return to each other in waves.