Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 22, 2014

Mayra Montero wins the Barco de Vapor Prize once again


The jury underscored the qualities in Montero’s work that make it so attractive to children, such as its intelligent structure, her inclusion of moving scenes from the start, the plot’s originality and the fluid insertion of the various textual elements, among other.

The author, born in Havana in 1952, is the winner of the 8th edition of the Children’s Literature Prize El Barco de Vapor de Puerto Rico, sponsored by the SM Foundation for El dragón dormido, her second such award from the Spanish publisher. In their press release, SM announced that the author, who has lived in Puerto Rico for more than forty years and says she feels Puerto Rican, will accept her award next Friday in an event to be celebrated at the old Casino de Puerto Rico in Old San Juan.

This is Montero’s second award. She won in 2008 for Viaje a Isla de Mona (2008).

According to the SM press release, El dragón dormido tells the story of Gustavo, an eleven-year-old whose hobby is prehistoric animals and who cannot feel fear because of a problem with his cerebral amygdala. As soon as his brother and friends realize this they start to invent situations to try to have Gustavo experience terror.

After a series of hair-raising situations, Dr Swann, a scientist who studies the memory of fear, will help the protagonist obtain the clues to survival and perhaps to overcoming his strange disease. The Prize includes $12,000 in cash, the publication of the work in the Barco de Vapor collection, and a sculptor by Spanish artists Alfonso Ruano, corporate art director for the SM Group.

The selection jury included professor Carmen Trelles Hernández, writer and scholar Janette Becerra (winner of the Prize in 2012), novelist and poet Mayra Santos Febres and Diana Bernard, SM’s editorial director editorial in Puerto Rico.

Josep Lafarga Sarrá, SM’s General Editor in Puerto Rico, announced that 57 manuscripts were submitted and the selection was complicated. “The quality of the work submitted confirms the great literary talent we have in Puerto Rico, where there is a solid quarry for the growth of the Barco de Vapor collection. He added that he was very enthusiastic to see how the competition is encouraging well-known artists to write works for children and young adults.

In Puerto Rico, Montero has worked as a journalist and developed an prolific literary career which has earner her a number of prizes. She was a finalist for the Herralde Prize for her first novel, La trenza de la hermosa luna, which was followed by La última noche que pasé contigo (finalist for the Sonrisa Vertical Prize), Como un mensajero tuyo, Púrpura profundo (winner of the Sonrisa Vertical Prize), El capitán de los dormidos, Vana ilusión and Son de almendra.

The Barco de Vapor Prize promotes the creation of literary work destined for readers between 6 and 14 in order to encourage a taste for reading and the transmission of human, social and cultural values.

The authors submit their work under a pseudonym to guarantee transparency in the selection.

For the original report (in Spanish) go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 22, 2014

Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde goes to Fabienne Kanor


A post by Peter Jordens.

The novel Faire l’aventure by storywriter, journalist and filmmaker Fabienne Kanor was the Jury’s choice at the 25th edition of the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde, which this year took place at the Casa de las Americas in Cuba.

The jury, which was chaired by Ernest Pépin (Guadeloupe) and included Nancy Morejon (Cuba), Rodolphe Alexandre (French Guiana), Miguel Duplan (Martinique, Guyana), Lise Gauvin (Québec), Romuald Fonkoua (Cameroon), Evelyne Trouillot (Haiti), Michael Dash (Trinidad), Patrick Chamoiseau (Martinique) and Samia Kassab-Charfi (Tunisia), also recognized as Special Mentions: Louis Sala-Molins (France) for Esclavage réparation – Les lumières des capucins et les lueurs des pharisiens (Éditions Lignes) and Yannick Lahens (Haiti) for Bain de lune (Sabine Wespieser).

Kanor (France, 1970), born of French Antillean parents, has written a novel that combines alterity, emigration, exile, Africa and Europe, the Antilles … through the journey of two migrants. According to critics, the book “addresses individual identity by way of an intimate and human adventure.” These themes are common too in her work as a filmmaker.

“As writers, we open doors. We do not always know where we are going; but ultimately, we try to tell a story, we allow people, who may never have spoken before, to speak. As writers, we are obliged to feel the emotions and restore them. And as a novelist, it has been important for me to rediscover my territories and inhabit them,” said the author. “In my books,” she continues, “most of my characters are black. That means that they share African, Caribbean or African-American stories. I feel that I am part of that common ground, that blackness which I carry as a political color.”

Kanor’s works include D’Eaux douce (2004), Humus (2006), Les chiens ne font pas des chats (2008) and Anticorps (2010). Faire l’aventure was published by 2014 by Éditions J.C. Lattès.

Since its creation in 1990, the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde recognizes annually a Creole or French literary work from any corner of the world that is characterized by a decolonizing vision and promotes intercultural connections. The award is announced at the end of a cultural week of meetings, lectures, debates, films, concerts and exhibitions. For the first time in its history the Prix Carbet was held in a Spanish-speaking island, which is in accordance with the intention expressed by Édouard Glissant in 2008 to “organize a literary meeting of the Prix in the English- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, but also in Africa.”

For the original article (in Spanish) go to Also see

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 22, 2014

Jamaica Biennial 2014 … A Transitional Phase in the Process of Change

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This article by Rachael Barrett appeared in the Jamaica Observer. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention. See our earlier post, Jamaican Biennial goes international (November 30, 2014).

Critiquing any biennial is always a challenge. Designed as massive temporary exhibitions of work, the scale and variety of work is a lot to absorb and assess in a single visit.

Critiquing this biennial is an especially difficult challenge as the 2014 newly christened Jamaica Biennial represents a significant turning point in Jamaica’s fine art history.

For the first time the Jamaica Biennial has been juried by a committee including leading curatorial figures from institutions within the region. This is particularly significant as it broadens the curatorial scope from the National Gallery’s team to include fresh “eyes” to survey and assess the work submitted for exhibition. This is the last incarnation of the invited artist section, through which particular artists from within the local artistic community who had previously attained “invitee” status can submit works to the biennial without critical right of refusal. The biennial this year also spreads beyond the concrete walls of the National Gallery throughout the streets of Kingston and inside national landmark Devon House with projects from invited international artists, significantly all from the Caribbean, and also features an exhibition in the newly minted National Gallery West in Montego Bay.

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For the first time I can say unequivocally that I am proud of our local biennial. As an art professional I travel regularly to see art fairs, exhibitions, museums and biennials across the globe and this is the first time that the biennial in Jamaica has finally adopted, in a much more comprehensive way than before, the visual language and curatorial rhetoric of global contemporary art. The addition of international jurors allows an alternative perspective of our nation and diaspora’s artists to emerge. Allowing the biennial to function as a vehicle for international curatorial engagement for our artists is also an invaluable elevation of its purpose.

This 2014 exhibition tackles in a way that has not been previously attempted the question of what makes a great biennial. Our previous biennials were misnamed. They really functioned more as national exhibitions. We love our people and I appreciate the pride in having an exhibition that showcases the best of our national talent. However, the hallmark of a great biennial is the creative discourse – the themes explored, concepts challenged and evolution of the work on display. The Venice Biennale is the world’s oldest biennial exhibition of contemporary art and regarded as the most significant in terms of the size, quality of work and range of nations exhibiting under a single curatorial. Closer to us, the Sao Paolo Biennial is the second oldest and was established to function as an important dialogue between the global contemporary art world and Latin America. Dr Veerle Poupeye, the executive director of the National Gallery, notes that the “…future vision is for the Jamaica Biennial to become an international exhibition with a strong Caribbean focus”. In art circles the word important is often tossed around, but this statement is particularly so as it demonstrates the vision behind this moment of change.


Change is a tricky thing, and while this biennial has improved, this is not to say that there are no teething pains to contend with. As this biennial marks a transitional phase in the process of change, the discrete collection of artwork on display makes a clear case for the future biennials to be curated under a single theme to add a more cohesive rhetoric. Jamaicanness alone is not enough of a curatorial thread as our artists address a wide variety of issues and concerns, through a broad spectrum of media. As Jean-Michel Basquiat once said, “I am not a black artist; I am an artist.” Great art always transcends boundaries marked by geography or government. Jamaicans can proudly note that our 2014 biennial features work that addresses themes as diverse as the holocaust, ecological concerns, blackness, whiteness, mixed-identity, spirituality, sexuality and social justice. Great art also transcends physical abilities and educational pedigree. It is important to note that the biennial features artists, with physical restraints and limited education, alongside each other as equals. Outside institutions could learn from this.

There were many local grumblings at the announcement of thye phasing out the invitee policy, and I applaud the efforts of the local boards and advisors for the battle they have won in getting this ridiculous policy removed. As evidenced in the post- modern “ghetto” left in an upstairs nook of the gallery, as well as most of the juried artists selected being 40 and under, clearly there is a disparate connection between how to satisfy the different tastes and forms of art represented in the island. Grouping work according to style alone is a disservice to the artist. That said, it is fairly impossible to assemble a cohesive exhibition when there is not much say in what the artist can submit. Curating under a single theme would assist with ensuring there is more of a clear relationship between the diverse media of work on display, and removing the antiquated invitee system will perhaps force some of those artists to step their “game” up to fight for a place within the exhibition with new challenging work like everyone else.

Timing and resources, as in years before, are a challenge. Spreading the biennial to different sites is clearly a positive step towards allowing for greater engagement with the arts across the island, far from the traditional Kingston-centric mentality. However, this meant thinning out the resources of an already thin team, within what also seemed an unfeasible period of time between the tender process and exhibition release. Too many of this biennial’s great “moments” can be overlooked because of inconsistencies with presentation or too thin a connective tie between the works. The works were also all created and, with the exception of Matthew McCarthy’s performance on opening day and his online magazine Regal Zeen designed to continually update over the course of the exhibition, one wishes there were more artworks, performances and symposia designed to unfold over time to keep the biennial an active engagement of contemporary art over the full exhibition period.

The Devon House-based exhibit is of exceptional quality, and I am aware an immersive installation of this type is rare on the island. Compared to what is produced elsewhere, one cannot help but wonder how much further the immersion could have been pushed with more time to consider how best to work with the space itself as raw material. Installing in found spaces with conservation restrictions is not easy, and the works look beautiful but are a very simple “putting of things on things” means of engagement with the rich history of this Kingston landmark. Laura Facey’s rubbings and sculpture, while evocative of a rich natural historical significance, could have done a more provocative commentary on the historical past of the space or even referenced the contemporary musings on the significance of that history as she does with ‘Redemption Song Monument’ at Emancipation Park. Performance, audio, film, streamed engagement, onsite comparisons with works removed and works brought in, or even alterations to the existing space itself as a medium, are all means of engagement that are not fully explored. The closest one gets to that comes from international rising star Ebony G Patterson, whose installation intelligently interacts with the entire space allocated, transforming her space with colour and texture in addition to laying out work “in situ”.

The “special projects” moniker was chosen to introduce artists from within the Caribbean region to the biennial. However, in practice these projects are part-project, part-artwork, and, in the case of some sites, are intermingled into the broader exhibition. It would be interesting to see true projects emerge in the future with invited artists creating true projects that incorporate artwork as well as some other means of activation.

Out west, while there are positives to having a solo exhibition by one of our more internationally renowned artists at the National Gallery West, one wonders if it could not have been possible with either more time or resources to encourage projects that interact within that city or surrounding landscape. While adding an element of the exhibition to that part of the island, the solo presentation leaves the west out of the conversation exploring the broad range of work produced by the nearly 100 artists participating.


The quality level of artwork on display in this biennial far supercedes what has been exhibited before in the previous incarnations.

People often ask me what is used to determine the demarcation between “good” and “not so good”, when it comes to contemporary art. Truthfully, art remains a subjective thing. However, in the case of determining an improvement in this exhibition, one can use aesthetic markers to ascertain how this biennial compares to its foreign counterparts in terms of the aesthetic qualities of the work on view. The vast range of media of work on display echoes a more contemporary view of what it means to be an artist in 2014, and the range of artists making this type of work demonstrates that both educated and intuitive artists continue to evolve using the diverse tools in their environments. I was amazed to learn that Di- Andre Caprice Davis is a self-taught artist, as her incorporation of performance, digital media, colour and concept are on point with work on view at the Hammer, MoMA, and Tate and reflect the current post-Internet movement at the forefront of international contemporary art and explored by many other artists far senior in age and with years of education under her belt.

On the other side of the spectrum, ceramic sculpture, often regarded as a craft, has lately been the subject of many exhibitions that explore how significant Western contemporary artists such as Cameron Jamie and Sterling Ruby use this simple material in making evocative contemporary work regarded as fine art and not craft. Basel Watson’s Broken Wing, Norma Rodney Harrack’s Fragment, Michael Layne’s Human Habitat series and Toorel Asher’s Tower of Tenderloin illustrate our own artists who use the medium in interesting ways.

The more traditional mediums of painting and sculpture show work that ranges from the classically styled, such as Philip Thomas’ IMF. …(u***d) and Rex Dixon’s Tropical Highrise and Between the Lines. Thomas sticks with his usual grandiose style repeating his traditional palette and five years and counting featured subject images, adding banknotes with Michael Manley’s image to add social comment. Dixon’s abstraction features a mature pairing of colour and pattern, but in such a fresh juxtaposition that I admit I was surprised to discover his age! Sculpture in carved, tooled, and shaped forms of all sizes and material demonstrates that this media continues to be popular locally. Deborah Anzinger’s Watershed most interestingly pushes into contemporary uses of the form beyond making static objects – the living plants are part of her work of an upturned figure’s legs, meant as an examination of how people navigate their environment. Most people assume this is a female figure, the artist has left this deliberately unclear.

Film and photography make up a large part of the exhibition this year, and the photography alone could really be split into its own survey as the quality of work on view is impressive. Again, this measure is drawn from the range of archival photography, collage, portraiture, still life, abstraction and processes in the photographs on view. Olivia McGhilcrist uses film as a means of asking questions through repeated performance and Storm Saulter and Renee Cox explore the interjection of film and photography in their layered images, although I must say Saulter’s film, a collaboration with Trinidad-based multimedia artist Rodell Warner, appears much stronger despite Warner and Saulter being much younger artists in that field. The use of found graphics, film, and digital manipulation of found patterns to create a new visual is mesmerising but, most importantly, a uniquely powerful visual. Another marker in assessing work within the global contemporary landscape is determining how much work looks like other work…is this repetitive?… is this derivative? Cox’s work appears too much a victim of her New York roots, a less technically impressive Marco Brambilla-esque digital manipulation, and a less impactful Rashaad Newsome-esque exploration of blackness.

The increase of multi-media installations is also a hallmark of the “new” face of the biennial, and it is telling as both the winner of the Dawn Scott Memorial Award, Camille Chedda, and the Aaron Matalon Award, Ebony G Patterson, technically are artists who mostly work within the most traditional of artistic forms, portraiture, but do so using exceptionally interesting media.


The 2014 Jamaica Biennial represents a significant moment of change in our artistic and cultural history and I express sincere congratulations to those who have fought to ensure this change became a reality. I hope most Jamaicans make an effort to go and view the changing future of our art and culture – the attendance figures during opening week were higher than ever in the history of the exhibition, and interestingly, the most varied in terms of socio- economic background, especially in Montego Bay where I observed onlookers from Sam Sharpe square wandering in to take a peek. Fittingly, it has been announced that “culture” is the word of the year for 2014. Culture in all its incarnations in this contemporary age is global, and our biennial reflects this global sensibility elevating our art and culture to compete and excel on a global level as our athletics and music already do.

For the original report go to—-_18123835

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 22, 2014

Pride and prejudice: for Latinos, tamales can taste of both


This article by Maria Godoy appeared in the NPR site. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

This Christmas Eve, many Latinos will celebrate the holiday by unwrapping delicious little presents: tamales.

At its essence, a tamale consists of masa (dough made from corn or another starch) that’s been wrapped in aromatic leaves, then steamed or boiled. Some come bundled in corn husks, others in plantain, banana or mashan leaves. Some are sweetened with molasses or coconut milk, others spiced with mole or seasoned with achiote. Some are plain; others are filled with meat, cheese or vegetables.

Indeed, Latin America has hundreds of interpretations of the tamal (that’s the Spanish singular, though Americans often say tamale). Tamales vary not just by country but often by region. In Mexico alone, “we have over 200 tamales,” says Iliana de la Vega, a chef originally from Mexico City who ran an acclaimed restaurant in Oaxaca for many years before relocating to Austin, Texas.

But which version is best?

“Do you want me to get in trouble with my wife? Is that what you’re looking for?” asks Luis Clemens, NPR’s senior editor for diversity.

Clemens, you see, is Cuban-American — and Cubans like their tamales with bits of pork mixed into the masa. His wife is Mexican — she favors the banana-leaf-wrapped, chili-and-chocolate-mole tamales of Oaxaca. In the interest of preserving their marital bliss, I drop the question.

The word tamal comes to us from the Aztecs, who already had myriad interpretations of the leaf-wrapped parcels when the Spanish arrived, culinary historian Maricel Presilla writes in Gran Cocina Latina. Some were stuffed with beans and chiles, others filled with “elaborate mixtures of meat, fish, turkey,” worms, seeds or cherries, she says.

“So prized were tamales that they were considered food for the gods,” she writes.

Aztec women, Presilla says, spent days making tamales for wedding feasts. And preparing them is still a grand production. Often friends and families will gather fortamaladas, organizing themselves into efficient assembly lines to move the bundles along. All that work helps explain why, in many Latin countries, they’ve long been a treat synonymous with the holidays and other special occasions when people gather.

“For me, tamales have to be like my grandmother made them,” says Felix Contreras, a Mexican-American arts desk producer and co-host of NPR’s AltLatino.

Pork tamales are assembled before they are steamed. Tamale-making is labor intensive, one reason why the bundles of masa tend to be reserved for special occasions.

Pork tamales are assembled before they are steamed. Tamale-making is labor intensive, one reason why the bundles of masa tend to be reserved for special occasions.

Contreras, like many Latinos, is unabashedly devoted to the taste he grew up with: a spicy pork recipe with roots in the Southwest.

“Hmm, how do I put this diplomatically?” Contreras says, choosing his words carefully. “When I’ve tasted some other cultures’ tamales, I guess because I’m used to what I’m used to, it was a little too off-the-beaten path for me.”

I understand the pride and prejudice that tamales can engender. In the past, I’ve had to hold myself from snarling back at a commenter on a blog post who called Guatemalan tamales “lousy.” (Yup, I’m half-Guatemalan.)

Many years ago, I briefly considered breaking off relations with a dear Mexican-American friend after she dismissed the bite of Guatemalan-style tamale I offered her with a sour grimace. Perhaps she hadn’t realized that we Guatemalans put our tamales on a green-leaf-lined pedestal.

Puerto Ricans boast of pastelitos, and Venezuelans hail hallacas — whose golden hue, Presilla writes, is achieved with the help of lard or oil infused with achiote. My Colombian mother has a constant hankering for the bollos of her coastal Caribbean hometown.

Guatemalan tamales, too, come in many variations. But the archetypal Guatemalan tamale — the kind I crave this time of year — is made with creamy smooth masa that’s cooked prior to boiling, and stuffed with chicken or pork in a red tomato sauce, with bell peppers, olives and capers. Each is savored slowly for the true luxury that it is — scooping more than one tamale onto your plate at a time is considered bad form.

The taste is amazing — but it’s also quite a departure from that of the Mexican-style, corn-husk-wrapped concoctions that are encountered most frequently in the U.S. Which is why I decided to forgive my friend for her disregard for the Guatemalan style. After all, taste preferences are formed early, and in this country, it is Mexican tamales that have the broadest and deepest roots.

This Christmas Eve, my sisters and I will feast on tamales prepared by a Guatemalan immigrant who makes them for us in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. None of us have time — or frankly, the know-how — to craft the savory versions that remind us of our childhood in Guatemala City, so we’ve sought out those who can recreate the taste of home.

Because ultimately there are ingredients universal to every tamale: tradition and memory.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 22, 2014

Jamaican Biennial: Cocktails With Renée Cox

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This interview with performance artist and activist Renée Cox appeared in Jamaica’s Observer.

The award-winning provocateur Renée Cox popped into the island, last week, for her Jamaica Biennial 2014 solo exhibition Sacred Geometry, which is now on view at the new Second City extension of the National Gallery of Jamaica, National Gallery West. The Rock-born New York photographer, curator, performance artist and political activist enjoyed a languid respite in the historic eastern capital of Port Antonio, where SO engaged her, over spicy sips of ginger beer, on matters concerning her second love (her first being French-born banker hubby Nicolas Chareton); social engagement; and her unapologetic affinity for the lush, off-the-beaten-track tourist magnet that is Portie.

What kind of day are you having?

Fabulous rainy day in beautiful Port Antonio.

What are your beauty essentials?

Lip balm and insect repellent.

Describe your personal style.


Who does your hair?

I do.

Who does your nails?

Soho Nails & Spa in Manhattan, New York City.

LBD or Jeans?


Flats or stilettos?


What perfume are you spritzing?

Chanel No 5.

If you could go back in time, which pioneering photography great would you love to apprentice with and why?

I guess there are two, one would be Deborah Turbeville and the other, Richard Avedon. I really admire their visual styles and that they were able to push the limits of fashion photography in their time and do inventive things.

As a political activist, what’s your take on the tumultous racial atmosphere currently inciting discussion in the States at the moment.

What’s interesting to me is that I did a piece 21 years ago called The Pietà — inspired by Michelangelo’s work of the same name — that addresses these same concerns and issues surrounding the African-American male in American society. At the time, The New York Times also ran the photograph in conjunction with a film that I’m featured in called Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People which investigates African-American photography since the beginning of photography. These situations were happening 21 years ago and unfortunately haven’t changed. But thanks to the proliferation of social media we now hear about these cases and no longer have to mine through books in a library to find out these statistics.

How does the cosmopolitan New Yorker Cox maintain her connection to her Jamaican roots?

One, staying in touch with friends and family, and returning to The Rock as much as I can. Two, I can always be found perusing shops in Brooklyn, on the hunt for ackee and breadfruit. I make a very mean salt fish and ackee; giving you all the African liberation colours of the red, the yellow and the green reflected in the peppers that are used in the dish.

What has been the legacy of arguably your most controversial piece Yo Mama’s Last Supper?

I don’t think nudity is a big deal. I don’t think so now and I didn’t think so then, but obviously for some people, they find it offensive. And since there has already been a precedent set with pieces such as my work, it gives emerging artists greater artistic licence to be able to express themselves the way they see fit. In my youth, I attended Catholic school and the message that I got was we are all created in the likeness of God and so when they took offence to me playing that role, I think it was a slap in the face not only for black folk but also for women.

Is the Christmas spirit something you give yourself over to or do you interrogate its relevance?

I think the thing that I hate about it is the commercialism. However, I do like the opportunity for family to come together.

What does the current staging of the Jamaica Biennial 2014 say about the state of Jamaican art?

I have to say I was very excited by and very pleased with the Biennial. It was very well done by Veerle Poupeye and O’Neil Lawrence. I felt a lot of positive energy coming from the show; a lot good work; and talented artists. It was top-notch — rivalling anything that I’ve seen globally in terms of biennials.

What is your inspiration?

The universe.

Where do you go to unwind?

Port Antonio.

What’s your idea of the perfect man?

My husband.

What’s your idea of the perfect date?

Nicolas and I enjoy inviting friends over for dinner and entertaining at home. Being married for as long as we have, since 1980, we’re beyond dating (laughs).

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

On top of the world.



Lip balm

Afro pick

Apple MacBook


Canon PowerShot G15

Apple iPhone 6

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 21, 2014

Four pastelle picks…Christmas in T&T!


Pastelles are always at the top of our list during the Christmas season in Trinidad and Tobago, reports. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

Think of them as a savory cornmeal parcels of holiday cheer, packed with raisins, carrots, capers, olives, fresh herbs and other vegetables mixed with minced beef, chicken, fish, lentil or soya.

Here are four special pastelles that we’ve recently sampled and enjoyed:

1.  Youthful Vegan Cafe (St. James, Trinidad) – Looking for a meat and soy-free pastelle? This cafe has great pastelles filled with mushrooms, carrots, olives, capers, pimentos, raisins and other vegetables. Link to Youthful Vegan Cafe on Facebook & Instagram#1 Middle St. & Patna St, (868) 689-9491.

2.  Pastelles & More (Trinidad) - We love that she grinds the beef and chicken for her pastelles (all meats are halal). Options also include fish, soya, lentil and veggie pastelles. Pastelles & More can be found at the San Antonio Green Market every Sunday 8am-2pm and are available by special order. (868) 281-4880.

3.  New Earth Organic Cafe (Woodbrook, Trinidad) – Every Monday pastelles are on the menu at this Roberts Street vegan cafe. Two pastelles are served with Vilma’s spicy chow chow along with Garden Greens with Organic Mung Bean Sprouts. #80 Roberts Street, (868) 381-8785.

4.  Antojos Catering (Trinidad) – Promising an authentic Venezuelan experience, Antojos specializes in empanadas, arepas, cachapas and of course pastelles during Christmas. Antojos’ pastelles are available by order and occasionally at San Antonio Green Market & UpMarket. Link to Antojos on Facebook & Instagram. (868) 387-9929/301-3701.

For the original report go to


Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 21, 2014

Exhibition “Antillean: An Ecology”


National Exhibition #7

Antillean: an Ecology

National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

Downtown Nassau

December 12, 2014 – May 10, 2015

For the past 18 years, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas has committed its programming to fostering local artists, who continue to push the frontier and foundation of culture across the archipelagic landscape. The institution assumes a critical role in the development of visual arts and a strong economy of thought and language that devotes itself to exchange; the shoring up of national identity, scholarship and education.

This year’s National Exhibition #7 titled Antillean: an Ecology supports the work of 47 visual artists and five pedagogues, and challenges Bahamian practitioners to respond broadly to the dynamics of race and class, issues that undoubtedly transcend fixed geographical and cultural boundaries. The platform has been generated to showcase how these important cultural signifiers have come to shape the collective consciousness of a post independent Bahamas.

St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott in his famed Nobel Laureate lecture claimed that, “Antillean art is a restoration of our shattered histories, of our shards of vocabulary, our cultural environment embracing the past and present.” Here we establish a starting point to frame a wider cultural conversation that is invitation to engage in critical discourse around the history of ideas about race and culture viewed variously through the social, intellectual, and artistic lens.

Within the visual fragments, we begin to pull together a shared understanding that will contribute to the spirit of inventiveness that is culture, politics, sexuality, and identity in the Caribbean. From this we have devised the Antillean as an active subject through which the complexities of contemporary notions of blackness, and by extension whiteness and the in between, will be reflected upon, interrogated, and activated within the wider national discourse.

The selected artists investigate, within broad interdisciplinary fields, the impact and implications of the dynamic codes and relationships that have been forged by issues arising out of identity politics. They have looked towards citizenship, migration, the landscape, slavery, religion, and the mélange of the Caribbean and the globalized world for inspiration and fodder.  Antillean: an Ecology as a theoretical and practical framework squirms under absolutism; it works within the acknowledgement of a complex mythologized space. The artists, through various media, ask the difficult questions underlining their experiences, readying themselves to confront and extend the dialogue of an oftentimes-contentious relationship with race and class concerns.

What would that negotiation look like and is there room for counter narratives? How will these definitions of blackness, whiteness, and the dynamic range in between fit into the social diversity of a developing nation? What kind of shifts will this bring about in public and private relationships? Is there such a thing as “Post-Black” within a Caribbean discourse? Have we gone beyond the perimeters, or is it someone else’s discourse?Antillean: an Ecology will engage with these complex ideas of national identity; how they have been affected by social, political, and cultural global convergences that are seeking to determine representation and meaning.

Antillean: an Ecology is curated by Michael Edwards and Holly Bynoe.

Its supported artists and essayists include: Angelique V. Nixon, Anina Major, April Bey, Arnold Kemp, Craig Smith, Dave Smith, Dede Brown, Dionne Benjamin-Smith, Dominique Knowles, Eleanor Whitely, Giovanna Swaby, Heino Schmid, Holly Parotti, Ian Bethel Bennett, Jace McKinney, Jalan Harris, Jason Bennett, Jeffrey Meris, Jodi Minnis, John Beadle, John Cox, Kareem Mortimer, Keithley Woolward, Ken Heslop, Kendall Hanna, Kendra Frorup, Khia Poitier, Leanne Russell, Lynn Parotti, Margot Bethel, Marie Sairsingh, Max Taylor, Natalie Willis, Nicolette Bethel, Omar Richardson, Piaget Moss, Scharad Lightbourne, Sonia Farmer, Sony Jean-Jacques, Steffon Grant, Steven Schmid, Sue Bennett Williams, Sue Katz, Susan Moir MacKay, Tessa Whitehead, Toby Lunn, Tyler Johnston, Tyrone Ferguson, Veronica Dorsett and Yutavia George.

For the original announcement fo to



Follow the link below for the Call for Proposals

October 14-17, 2015

Kingston, Jamaica

3rd Biennial Rex Nettleford Arts Conference: “Growing the Arts: Breaking Boundaries”

EMCVPA presents the 3rd Biennial Rex Nettleford Arts Conference, October 14-17, 2015 under the theme  “Growing the Arts: Breaking Boundaries”. The theme for this year’s conference comes against the background that the arts has been faced with several challenges and it is believed that the way forward is to break traditional ideologies about the arts. Incorporated in these traditional ideologies are preconceived notions of the value of the arts and there seemingly lack of viability, sustainability and income generation capacity.Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts; National Gallery of Jamaica


Contact Keino Senior or Simone Harris at

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 21, 2014

Street Food of the Bronx


This article by Emily Chalas appeared in The Bronx Journal. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

A surprising number of enterprising Bronxites make a living selling food in carts and trucks. Food stands stretch from 196 Street and Grand Concourse to Fordham Plaza to the East Tremont and Crotona areas of the Bronx. Some of these communities are very poor, with annual household incomes from $21,000 to $26,000. Yet food vendors in these neighborhoods often spend years hawking their wares and many report making a decent living.

Juan’s Flan


Juan Medina is from Ponce, Puerto Rico. He wakes up every day at 5 a.m. to prepare flans to sell on the corner of East Tremont and Crotona. He sells his pans of flan for $5, six days a week, in rain and snow. Medina says he found it hard to get a job due to his conviction for killing his sister’s husband.

Medina says he found himself defending his sister on many occasions when her husband would beat her. One day during a heated fight, says Medina, his brother-in-law fell, hit his head on the corner of a dinner table, went into a coma and later died.

Medina was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years. Once released, he had trouble finding work and instead turned to making flans. Medina says the flan business has been good. He is able to support his family and recently financed a new car.

Esperanza’s Pastelitos

Esperanza is from the Dominican Republic and she’s lived in New York for 25 years. She walks around East Tremont with a cart yelling out “pastelitos!” For $1.25, customers can buy chicken, beef and cheese pastelitos (deep fried pastries), along with lemonade or passion fruit juices. These fresh homemade juices wash down the tasty Dominican staple.

Esperanza said she lost count of how many years she had been selling on the streets, adding that it was close to when her children all started going to school. Around 1995, she began selling the pastelitos at public schools when school had finished. She said she had few options at the time and selling food gave her a flexible schedule.

“I wanted to be able to be home with my children, as a single mom, but also provide for them,” said Esperanza. “This gave me the ability to do both, so I did it and I made money. People actually like my stuff.”

With the money she’s made, Esperanza says she has been able to put her three children through college and to build a home in the Dominican Republic.

“I’m just waiting for my youngest to graduate college and I’m leaving,” she said. “New York has been really good to me, really good but, it’s too cold and I want to finally live in the house I’ve built.”

Errol’s Jerk Chicken


Jerk Man Erroll is an elusive man to track down. He never has a set schedule when he sells his chicken on Bronx Boulevard. And, he resists efforts to pin him down. When asked, “Where have you been?” he just laughs and says, “I’m here now mon! Wah gwan?” (What’s up in Patois).

Erroll is from Negril, Jamaica, and came to New York in 1996. He began working in a hospital doing custodial work but he says he felt the need to connect with the growing Jamaican community in the Wakefield section of the Bronx.

In the summer of 2000, he decided he was going to recreate the jerk chicken he had back in Jamaica. He decided to set up his drum barbecue grill on late nights in the summer and fall and the smell would lead you to the best jerk chicken you probably ever had.

Erroll sells jerk chicken and jerk pork accompanied by hard dough bread for $10. He says the jerk chicken reminds him of home. “It makes me happy and makes you happy!”

He adds that he doesn’t need a set schedule. “When the people come, they come,” he said. “I believe in attracting love rather than money.”

And, he has no plans to change careers any time soon. “I love what I do!” he said.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 21, 2014

My Kingston — Award-winning Portraitist Kimani Beckford

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This interview with artist Kimani Beckford appeared in Jamaica’s Observer.

What are your earliest memories of Kingston?

My earliest memory of Kingston was my first field trip while attending Garvey Maceo High School. I visited the Olympia Gallery on a class trip; I was living in Scott’s Pass at the time. Growing up in Clarendon and visiting Kingston for the very first time, I had city shock like many other rural youngsters, but it was all worth it.

What’s the most memorable meal that you have enjoyed in Kingston?

Lots of memories but last Father’s Day when I took my pops to Kushite’s Restaurant, that’s a meal that will never leave my mouth. It was vegan sushi rolls with bean sprouts, crispy mushrooms on a bed of quinoa cooked in a cannabis-tomatis sauce, and a raspberry ice-cream for dessert.

What would you do if you were mayor of Kingston for a day?

Realistically, I would round up several teams and start cleaning the streets, getting rid of as much garbage, then set a law to penalise anyone found littering the streets.

What would be your recommendations to a first-time visitor to Kingston?

I would recommend that they go visit the National Gallery of Jamaica and a few other art exhibits around town.

What’s your beverage of choice?

Give me coconut water or cane juice, you can’t go wrong as long as it’s natural.

Share the title of the last book you read.

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

What was the last bit of music you listened to that you enjoyed?

Roots dub and jazz.

What cologne are you splashing?

Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme.

What has sharing the inaugural Dawn Scott Memorial Award for your solo Jamaica Biennial 2014 entry BIB (Black Is Beautiful) meant for your self-perception as an artist?

Personally, it’s motivating and inspiring. I also hope it pushes my other fellow artists to work harder which in return makes the studio a constructive and competitive ground for growth.

BIB (pictured) evokes a lionising of the Everyman as divinity or luminary — what inspired this juxtaposition?

The respect for ‘self’ and recontextualising the premises of what and who is seen as divine. We are all images of what we conceive to be holy and everyone is divine in their own right.

How integral are themes of identity to your aesthetic?

Very. Identity plays a major role in my aesthetic and that is why I personally choose my subject matters with consideration; also placement.

Where next will your artistic endeavours take your brushstrokes?

It’s limitless; only time and inspiration will tell.

How would you like to be remembered?

As an artist who has contributed to the upliftment of something significant.

Share some places in your travel black book.

Miami, New York, Barcelona, and Andorra la Vella.

What do you consider your best and worst traits?

Best trait is I am self-motivated, and the worst trait is yet to be discovered.

What was your last major splurge?

The school expenses associated with copping a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts.

What is your philosophy?

Always stick with persons who are greater than you are.

For the original report go to—Kimani-Beckford_18123135

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