August 12, 2013 Attention: News Editors
Trinidad and Tobago Ready for CARIFESTA XI
The excitement is building as the Trinidad and Tobago one hundred member strong contingent for Carifesta XI makes their final preparations to represent the nation in the Caribbean’s major arts festival scheduled to take place in Paramaribo, Suriname from August 16 to 25, 2013. Carifesta, the Caribbean Festival of Arts was initiated in 1972 to celebrate the creativity of the region and reaffirm connections therein.
“This year’s festival theme is: Culture in Development”, says Marlon De Bique, Cultural Officer at the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism. The Ministry is chiefly responsible for coordinating all aspects of Trinidad and Tobago’s presentation in Suriname.
“The overall focus is on celebrating our diversity and promoting the central role of culture in economic, social and human development”, he added.
With that in mind, the Ministry, through its Culture Division, assembled a team of technocrats and industry professionals to determine the makeup of the delegation to Suriname. What emerged was a multicultural blend of national arts organisations, practising artists and performance groups, many of whom would not have had the opportunity to showcase their respective craft in a regional forum such as Carifesta.
The composition of this year’s contingent merges artistic experience with youthful creative innovation and traditional art forms with contemporary applications of art. As Trinidad and Tobago has placed its emphasis on diversification and the development of the creative sector, the decision was made to align this country’s participation closely to one of the key aspects of the Carifesta XI celebration.
“We simply took a different approach this year”. “In that way, we believe that we were able to connect with the festival’s emphasis on youth empowerment, innovation and economic development”, De Bique indicated.
A strategically selected assortment of artists and organisations is expected to represent the diverse artistic and creative offerings of Trinidad and Tobago. This contingent will deliver scintillating presentations in the visual, literary and performing arts, including theatre, dance, music, film, new media and fashion and even culinary arts.
Some of the artists and organisations expected to represent Trinidad and Tobago are: - Dr. Kim Johnson, the Metamorphosis Dance Company, the Fyzabad Composite School, the Trinidad and Tobago National Steel Symphony Orchestra, and Darren Chee Wah.
Other organizations that assisted in Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in Carifesta XI include:
- Caribbean Institute of Fashion Design, University of Trinidad and Tobago.
- Secondary Schools’ Drama Association
- National Library and Information System Authority and the Bocas Lit Fest
- National Museum and Art Gallery
- The Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago
- Tobago House of Assembly- Department of Community Development and Culture
- Trinidad & Tobago Film Company and Animae Caribe
- Tourism Development Company
About some of the members of the Contingent
Dr. Kim Johnson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Academy of Arts, Letters and Public Affairs at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. With his wealth of experience and numerous titles to his name he was the fitting choice to lead the literary team as Master Writer. His literary work has focused on the historical aspects of Trinidad and Tobago culture.
The Metamorphosis Dance Company is a formative dance company coming out of the training ground of the Caribbean School of Dancing. As its name suggests, Metamorphosis provides an opportunity for young local dancers to metamorphose into able, professional dancers as preparation for professional dance careers, usually abroad. Once integrated into the company, all dancers are expected to be proficient, at a minimum, in classical ballet and modern dance. Most of the company members have also achieved high levels of proficiency in Afro-Caribbean folk dance, Jazz and Tap. The majority of the repertoire is modern and contemporary. Metamorphosis was formed in November 1994 by a group of three teachers from the Caribbean School of Dancing - Nancy Herrera, Carol Yip Choy and Christel De Souza.
The Fyzabad Composite School has done the most productions for the Secondary Schools’ Drama Festival with forty one productions since 1977, and has been a finalist in this festival over twenty times. They have won numerous awards in the area of Outstanding Production, Original Production, Stage Management, Best Ensemble, Directing, Lighting and Acting. Noted playwright and calypso historian Zeno Constance is a teacher at the school and is the writer of ‘Cinderella Syndrome’ the School’s presentation for CARIFESTA IX.
On the heels of the very successful prelude to Carifesta XI concert of its “Pan on a Higher Note” series, the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) is gearing up to present our national instrument to the Caribbean. Formed in 2007 and operating under the direct supervision of the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism, the NSSO comprises some 30 pannists, most of whom are tertiary-level trained musicians. As part of its mandate, the NSSO performs at official State functions and conducts training and outreach projects in schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago. The Orchestra has toured extensively.
Darren Cheewah ( a.k.a. Chee) has been an Artist for over 20 years and his very visible work has made an impact in Trinidad and Tobago’s art circle. While he is probably best known as mural painter, he also wears the hats of skin tattoo artist, mas costume designer and Advertising Art Director. For Chee design is a passion. ‘I use all my skills and let each inform the other, mastering my craft one project at a time.’ His outdoor work was part of the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago’s recent Belle Eau 2013 exhibition. His passion for his country is demonstrated in his code name, Urban Artist hardlocalCh3wahrep868 worldwide.
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