Neil Vázquez (Miami New Times) reviews “Sun Splashed,” an exhibition that covers over two decades of work by Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-based artist Nari Ward, presently on view at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) through March 16, 2016. The exhibition includes installations, “highly performative sculptural pieces,” photographs, and mixed media works.  

[. . .] “At the museum we’re trying to speak to the Caribbean influences that run through Miami’s culture, and Ward’s work goes a long way in that respect as one of the most respected Jamaican artists today,” explained PAMM Associate Curator Diana Nawi. Together with Ward, Nawi, and recently appointed Director Franklin Sirmans went through the arduous task of putting together a show that encapsulated the various themes and mediums that ran through the artist’s career.

Despite the varied nature of the show, several key themes kept rearing their heads. Ward is inextricably fascinated with the Jamaican and Caribbean diaspora. Although he was born on Jamaica, it was the uptown streets of Harlem that raised him and formed much of his aesthetic sensibilities.

Yet, his homeland reappears throughout his work. For example, in Happy Smilers: Duty Free Shopping (1996) Ward recreates a New York/Jamaican storefront complete with an awning and sodas. As the viewers enter the space, they’re greeted with the light sounds of a proto-reggae band. Though the men in the troupe were urban professionals, they enacted the role of a stereotypical blithe Jamaican bumpkin for financial gain. “Acting the part wasn’t just kitsch, it was about survival,” imparted Ward.

That same dichotomy is present in a photographic series also titled Sun Splashed (2013) taken while Ward was living in Rome. The series portrays the artists in stereotypical Jamaican garb — complete with a straw hat and a bright pink shirt, always with a solemn look clutching a potted plant — shot at the homes of various well-to-do collectors in-and-around the Italian capital. In a more candid way, Ward plays on interplay between ethnic stereotypes, and acting out those same generalizations for personal gain. Though a much different context than his uncle’s band, the same ethnic tensions are at play in the art market.

Ward’s own personal struggle to establish his own identity in the face of a bureaucratic morass is perfectly encapsulated in Naturalization Drawing Table (2004). The Plexiglas table frames and the ten paged INS form with Ward’s meticulous line drawings really gives the viewer a sense of the tremulous process. [. . .]

For more information on the PAMM, or this specific exhibit, contact the museum directly at (305) 375-3000, or visit their website.

For full review, see

Also see

Posted by: ivetteromero | November 29, 2015

Bahamas Geo-tourism Website Launched


St. Lucia News reports that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in The Bahamas now have access to over 50 million potential customers thanks to an innovative website that maximizes the country’s geo-tourism potential. Among other features, the service offers an interactive map of geo-tourism sites and supporting businesses across islands and information on natural, cultural and historic attractions.

The National Geographic Bahamas Geotourism Website adds that The Bahamas MapGuide and website initiative is the first of its kind in the Caribbean and joins 12 other international geotourism destinations: “Covering a melting pot of unique natural sites, cultures, history and geographies, The Bahamas Family Islands under the Geotourism Program are: The Abacos, Acklins, Andros, The Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera/Harbour Island and Spanish Wells, The Exumas, Grand Bahama (east and west ends), Inagua, Long Island, Mayaguana, Ragged Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.” See excerpts of the St. Lucia News article here:

The National Geographic Bahamas Geotourism Website was formed through a partnership among the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, National Geographic, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDA). The aim of the website is to boost the Family Islands’ tourism potential by acting as a driver of overall SME development. The website is the first of its kind in the region. It provides an interactive map of geo-touristic sites and supporting businesses across The Bahamas and offers comprehensive information on natural, cultural and historic attractions for various destinations.

Information on the website includes accommodations, action opportunities, community, festivals and events, food and drinks, health and wellness, historic or prehistoric sites, local points of interest, museums, theatres, interpretive centers, natural areas, outdoor adventure and packaged experiences.

Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe said this initiative shows that The Bahamas is continuing to find innovative ways to draw people. “Technology allows the world to see The Bahamas with limited costs and in real time,” he said during a special launch ceremony at The Island House. “This is so important to what we are seeking to do. We must give strength to these islands. You have made a giant step for us and we want to tell you this is what partnerships are all about – seeking to do the best in the best interest of all.” [. . .]

To view the website visit

For full article, see

See original press release at

Posted by: ivetteromero | November 29, 2015

The Advent of Soundsystem Culture: The Roots of Bass Music


I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and learned a great deal about the roots of bass music. The article, published by the Bangin Beats music portal, opens by saying: “We’re all familiar with the popular sub genres of bass music, particularly dubstep, drum and bass, and grime. These off shoots of bass music have taken the world by storm, especially with the advent of the EDM bubble. But how did bass music originate? Where was it born? How did it catch on? We take a look at all of these.” The article goes through the historical trajectory of bass music, its origins, influences, and social contexts, organized in distinct sections: SoundClashes, The Influence of SoundSystem Culture on The UK Rave Scene and the Birth of Jungle, The Influence of Jamaican Soundsystem Culture on EDM, and Bass Culture in India. Here are a few excerpts (you may access the full article, with exceptional photographs and videos, in the link below):

[. . .] The sound system concept first became popular in the 1950s, in the ghettos of Kingston. DJs would load up a truck with a generator, turntables, and huge speakers and set up street parties. In the beginning, the DJs played American rhythm and blues music, but as time progressed and more local music was created, the sound migrated to a local flavor. The sound systems were big business, and represented one of the few sure ways to make money in the unstable economy of the area. The promoter or DJ made his profit by charging admission and selling food and alcohol; often thousands of people were in attendance. By the mid 1950s, sound systems were more popular at parties than live musicians, and by the second half of the decade, custom-built systems began to appear from the workshops of specialists such as Hedley Jones, who constructed wardrobe-sized speaker cabinets known as “House[s] of Joy“. As time progressed, sound systems became louder—capable of playing bass frequencies at 30,000 watts or more, with similar wattage attainable at the mid-range and high frequencies—and far more complex than their predecessors.  Besides the DJ, who rapped over the music, there was also a selector, who selected the music/rhythm tracks.

[. . .] An important part of sound system culture is the sound clash, a sound clash is a musical competition where crew members from opposing sound systems pit their skills against each other. Sound clashes take place in a variety of venues, both indoors and outdoors, and primarily feature reggae, dancehall or jungle music. The object is to beat or “kill” their competitors.

The first round is no elimination, each sound plays a set time. Second round each sound system plays but one sound system being eliminated by poor performance, poor quality or by playing back a song. Elimination continues until two sounds are left. The time interval gets shorter and shorter, with the introduction of television clashes, so when playing returns to one sound again, they may only play a shorter time, 15 minutes. Near the end of the clash they go song on song or “Dub fi dub.” [. . .]

[. . .] Since taking root in the 1950s when Jamaican sound system owners Duke Vin and Count Suckle arrived in England, sound system culture has massively impacted British musical history and has also became a powerful force in the encounter between black Britain and racism.

From its inception in Jamaica to its emigration to the UK we can see recurring themes of class, poor economy and politics being central to the inception of Jamaican soundsystem culture. Through the developing music scene it became apparent that different forms of reggae were the musical driving force of the movement. With the immigration to the UK we can see how soundsystems became a part in a struggle against racism and how Jamaican music and soundsystem culture ultimately started to influence other subcultures such as punk. [. . .]

For full article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | November 29, 2015

3rd Prizm Art Fair in Miami


With support from the Green Family Foundation, the Prizm Art Fair takes place from December 1-13 with a variety of exhibitions, performances, conversations with leading thinkers, and a block party (among other events) at the Coppertone Building, 7300 Biscayne Boulevard. Miami, Florida. The opening reception is on Tuesday, December 1, from 7:0pm until 10:00pm. [Also see previous post, Prizm Art Fair Showcases Works from the Global African Diaspora during Art Basel Miami.]

Description: this year, Prizm has assembled a curatorial committee featuring the visions of Mikhaile Solomon, Rosie Gordon-Wallace and A.M. Weaver. This committee brings together an ensemble of 18 diverse contemporary voices in the visual arts practice. The fair will exhibit paintings, photography and installations that address issues and explore themes affecting people of color globally. Of note will be visual displays representative of the foreboding hand of injustice, alternative and projected realities and traces of ancestral chords that connect the African Diaspora.

The fair will also host PRIZM Panels featuring conversations with leading thinkers of the African Diaspora, including a discussion between Jefferson Pinder and Prof. Kobena Mercer, Yale University moderated by Prof. Patricia Saunders, University of Miami.  Dr. Deborah Willis, Charlotte Mouquin Voznesenkaya and Oshun Layne of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation will serve as presenters of various topics as well.  The Green Family Foundation and the FIU African & African Diaspora Studies at the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs are the sponsors for these panels.  We’d also love for you to join us at our community block party on December 5th featuring the righteous beats of King Britt and a performance entitled Dark Matter(s), choreographed by Jefferson Pinder featuring breakdancing crew Lionz of Zion, sponsored by the David Driskell and Curator’s Office.

For more information, see

Also see and

Posted by: ivetteromero | November 29, 2015

Showing Haiti on Its Own Terms

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The December 2015 issue of National Geographic features “Showing Haiti on Its Own Terms,” an article of how Haitian photographers present Haiti to the world through an intimate and different lens. Alexandra Fuller provides a summary of Haitian history, highlighting people she has met through her travels through the country, who offer their own perspectives about life in Haiti. Fuller writes “Young Haitian photographers reveal determination, pride and beauty in a land where struggle and hardship are the norm.” The accompanying photographs were taken by students of FotoKonbit, a Haitian-run, U.S.-based nonprofit organization that teaches photography to youths and adults in Haiti.

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] See excerpts here and the full article with a spectacular selections of photographs in the links below.


The Haitian student photographers ranged in age from 14 to their mid-30s, and they’d come from all parts of the country and from all backgrounds. Their mandate was so simple it verged on radical: To show the world Haiti as it is rarely seen—as they saw it. Not just a country of disasters, shocks, and aftershocks but also a place shot through with sunlight and glittering sea, a place stunned into focus by a child in an impeccable school uniform, rollicked by music and the seemingly spontaneous eruption of dancers blowing on bamboo trumpets through the haze of a street party. A place of pride and possibility.

“That’s good, because Haitians are tired of seeing stories in foreign papers about how helpless we are,” said Junior St. Vil, my translator and a travel consultant who has also embarked on a law degree. “There is so much beauty here, so much power.” [. . .]

For full article and series of photographs, see

Also see and

CTC Longer Version

“Conjuring the Caribbean: How Sweet It Is” is a weeklong symposium taking place at the University of Michigan December 7-11, 2015. The symposium includes panel presentations, installation, performances, and a keynote speech by Gaiutra Bahadur (author of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture). 

Description: This weeklong, interdisciplinary symposium will examine themes of sugar economies, conversions, consumerism, appropriation, hyper-sexuality voyeurism, exile and justice. The goal is to educate campus constituencies about issues of commercialism and ethnic tourism in the Caribbean and to open campus dialogues about United States interactions with the Caribbean through open-ended, mediated performance. The event will bring focus to an increasingly dynamic, and largely overlooked geographic region that continues to transform North American economies, politics and cultural imaginations.

How Sweet It Is: Conjuring The Caribbean focuses on sugar as a transformative metaphor for envisioning how histories of plantation servitude, sugar production, and human labor have realigned to support micro economies based upon tourism and single product exports. Caribbean industries capitalize on fantasies of sun soaked, hyper-sexualized bodies and rum-saturated diversion, yet imbedded in this imagined landscape are socio-political realities of poverty, misogyny, exile and protest. The symposiums calls for an interdisciplinary response to shifting imaginations about the power and potential of Caribbean studies viewed through the lens of a sugar-saturated past.

For full program, see

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 28, 2015

Diana McCauly’s ‘Mourning White Horses’

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In “Mourning White Horses,” Award-winning Jamaican writer Diana McCaulay remembers Jamaica’s south coast and reflects on how it has changed since her childhood. This story of climate change appeared in Free Word, a fascinating new blog. You can find the original story here.

Here are some excerpts of a story that should be read in its entirety.

When I was a child I got carsick. A family trip to the country often involved many stops so that I could walk with my father along the side of the road to overcome my nausea. One of the places we stopped was White Horses in St. Thomas on Jamaica’s south coast.

I never wondered about the name because the lines of breaking surf were just like the flying manes of white horses. Whoever had named it long ago saw exactly what I saw. The waves came in lines like racehorses rounding a bend and the wind shredded the tops of the breakers. The beach was wide, a mix of grey sand and pebbles, built, I now know, by the big rivers further to the east. There were many groynes at White Horses and we would often see men fishing from them, the waves racing along their sides. They were grey like the rocks and looked as if they had always been there.

There were small shops under a grove of coconut trees and my parents would buy cold soft drinks and snacks or water coconuts from the coconut man.  Across the road from the beach was Roselle Falls – a small waterfall that cascaded down a sheer hill into a drain at the side of the road.  There were always people in the falls – playing, relaxing, bathing – and the rocks were green with moss and tiny ferns. Walking on the beach, I felt released from the car, barefoot, my toes curling in the wet sand, the salty wind in my face. Once, wading in the rock pools left by the big waves, I saw a tiny seahorse, unable to support itself with nothing to hold on to. My father got a half of a coconut from the coconut man and we scooped up the seahorse. “We have to find a calm place with seaweed,” my father said. “Seahorses hold on by their tails. The males have the babies,” he told me.  We found a slightly sheltered place on that wild coast and eased the seahorse into the water. That day, I thought about the seahorse all the way to our destination. I didn’t understand how such a fragile creature, almost transparent, could survive in a place as rough as the White Horses coast.

Last week, I drove to St. Thomas for the first time in maybe ten years, and White Horses and the Roselle Falls had vanished. It was hard to know where I was because all the landmarks had disappeared. The beach was a sliver, the coconut trees were gone, there was no waterfall. The sea side of the road had been lined with large stones, obviously to try and protect the road from the surf. A Google search turned up stories of local people mourning the loss of economic activities at White Horses and Roselle – only one person said: it used to be a nice place. The flying manes of the waves were still there, but nobody looking at that coast now would name it White Horses. It had become an armoured coastline, a revetment, a man-made battlement.

No one event destroyed this place. Hurricane Dean in 2007 played its part, the old groynes were not maintained, and sand mining in the Yallahs and Morant rivers reduced the sediment that nourished the beach.  Climate change with attendant sea level rise delivered the final blow. Long, frequent droughts caused the small aquifer that fed the Roselle waterfall to dry up.  Nor is White Horses the only Jamaican casualty of such events – we are fast losing beaches at Hellshire, Alligator Pond, Montego Bay and Negril. For all the islands of the Caribbean, our own careless, short term actions have rendered us that much more vulnerable to climate change, and for us, it is not abstract, not futuristic. It is here, it is now, and it is an existential threat.

Were I able to attend COP 21 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris this December, I would take with me a photograph of White Horses as it was. This is what is at stake, I would say, to those who labour in conference rooms into the night to argue over the placement of semi colons in complex documents which use words like “adaptation” and “mitigation” and phrases like “common but differentiated responsibilities” and “stabilization of greenhouse gases.” Look at this, I would say to them, this place – it is not there anymore. It is gone and we human beings caused its loss.

. . .
We have a saying in Jamaica: Mek unno gwaan. Loosely translated, it means: continue your reckless course of action if you must, but you will have to face the consequences at some point. Part of me wants to say to COP 21, mek unno gwaan, because in the 23 years since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed, carbon dioxide emissions have only risen. Yes, perhaps they would have risen faster without the convention but for me, for White Horses, for the people of Mexico before Hurricane Patricia hit, that bar is way too low.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 28, 2015

Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play goes to Theresa Ikoko’s Girls


Theresa Ikoko’s Girls has won the 2015 Alfred Fagon Award for best new play of the year, Georgian Snow reports for The Stage. You can find her report here.

The award – given to a new play by a writer of Caribbean or African descent, who is resident in the UK – was presented as part of a ceremony at the National Theatre, which also saw two new prizes given, including a new £3,000 bursary.

Now in its 19th year, the award was set up in memory of actor and playwright Alfred Fagon, who died in 1986.

Ikoko’s debut play beat off competition from David Judge’s Skipping Rope, Deidan Williams’ Manhattan Out to Sea, Looked After Children by Eva Edo and Tolula Dada’s Carrot or Stick, to take home the £6,000 prize.

Girls, which is about three of the girls abducted by terrorists in northern Nigeria, was also shortlisted for the 2015 Verity Bargate Award.

Ikoko was presented with the prize by National Theatre director Rufus Norris, who said that it is “a benchmark for quality in new writing of any kind”.
Ikoko said: “I want my friends I grew up with on an estate in Hackney to walk into buildings like the National Theatre with a sense of belonging, a sense of ownership, because it belongs to us as much as it belongs to anyone else. I want to walk in and feel like I am here because you are telling my story.”

Previous winners of the award include Michaela Coel’s Chewing Gum Dreams and Charlene James’ Cuttin’ It, which was produced by BBC Radio 4 earlier this year and will tour theatres including the Young Vic, the Royal Court and Birmingham Rep in 2016.

The ceremony also saw the introduction of the Alfred Fagon Audience Award, which was shared between Diana Nneka Atuona’s Liberian Girl, Play Mas by Mustapha Matura and Matilda Ibini’s Muscovado.

The new award was announced earlier this year and is voted for by the public from a shortlist of 11 plays by black British writers, produced within the last year.

A second new award was given as part of the ceremony, held on November 27 in the NT’s Dorfman. The Roland Rees Bursary was launched in memory of director Roland Rees, the Alfred Fagon Award’s founder, who died in September.

The inaugural bursary of £3,000 was won by stage and screen writer Mark Norfolk and was presented by director Yvonne Brewster.

The bursary will be presented annually to a writer selected by the judges.


The World of Arin blog has posted travel advice from Princess Angela of Liechtesntein, a friend of the blogger.

Here are some excerpts. You can find the original report and additional photos here.

What would be your perfect day in Panama City?

A perfect day in Panama City would be to wake up at my parent’s house in the morning and have a casual chat with my mother over a freshly brewed cup of Panamanian coffee. I would then meet my friend Laura, who would take me shopping. I especially like to visit some of the local artisan shops.

What would be your ideal outfit for the day?

It is hot in Panama, so normally I would wear white jeans, easy tops, lots of colorful bangles and necklaces, sandals or my Panamanian mola ballerinas. If I am on the coast, I love to wear flowing kaftans and beach dresses, with lots of prints, embroidery, and colors.

Where would you have dinner and what dish would your order?

My favorite place to have dinner is at Manolo Caracol in the old town, where chef Andrés Morataya uses local, organic ingredients. My favorite dishes are the sea bass carpaccio with hibiscus powder and lime zest or the zucchini flowers stuffed with mushrooms, green onions, goat cheese, and leeks.


What attraction would you visit?

In Panama City I would visit the Museum of Biodiversity designed by Frank Gehry. The museum was created to tell the origin of the Isthmus and its significant impact on the planet’s biodiversity. It is really fascinating.

. . .

What’s your favorite neighborhood in the city?

My favorite area is the Casco Viejo (the old town). The city was built in the 1600s and is on a peninsula by the sea. I love strolling its cobbled streets looking at the old architecture. It is also a cool place with great restaurants, artisan shops, old ruins and Latin jazz clubs.



An article from the CBC. You can access the original report and a video here.

Eunide Edouarin — better known by her stage name Princess Eud — claims to be shy on camera. But when she performs on stage with her effortless swagger and gritty lyrics, it’s not hard to see why she’s considered one of the top female rappers in the Caribbean. Just watch the video above — you’ll see.

Eud was raised singing in a Baptist church in a suburb of Port-au-Prince. Inspired by the work of one of her favourite artists, Lauryn Hill, she began hanging out at local radio stations to freestyle with other musicians. She joined a few rap groups — as the only female member — before going out as a solo rap artist.

Eud is a rarity in the Haitian music scene: while most of her female contemporaries are singing, she has chosen rap as her form of creative expression. Her lyrics speak out against gender inequality in Haitian culture and against the social and political barriers to women’s rights.

“I’m a tough girl,” she says with a smile.

When she’s not performing live in Haiti or in the US and Canada, Eud is driven by other art-based projects, including the Iyoudi Collection, a women’s fashion line inspired by the colours and styles of Haitian culture. Eud designs the clothing herself, and the line is hand-made in Port-au-Prince.

For Interrupt This Program, we followed Princess Eud backstage at Carifesta — an annual music festival celebrating Caribbean music and culture — then watched her kill it on stage in front of hundreds of people, rapping alongside fellow Haitian musician Bélo.

Follow Princess Eud’s latest fashion styles on Instagram @princesseud and hear her latest tracks on SoundCloud.

Catch more of her on this week’s episode of Interrupt This Program, Friday, November 27 at 8:30 p.m. /9 p.m. NT.

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